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IN RE: PETITION FOR PROBATE OF LAST G.R. No. 179859 Basilio and his second wife had six offsprings, Tomas, Cipriano, Ricardo,
WILL AND TESTAMENT OF respondents Zoilo and Felicidad, and petitioner Ma. Pilar, all surnamed Santiago.
BASILIO SANTIAGO, Present:
Basilio and his third wife bore three children, Eugenia herein petitioner Clemente,
MA. PILAR SANTIAGO and CLEMENTE CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson, and Cleotilde, all surnamed Santiago.[1]
SANTIAGO, BERSAMIN,
Petitioners, DEL CASTILLO,* After Basilio died testate on September 16, 1973, his daughter by the second
ABAD,** and marriage petitioner Ma. Pilar filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan [2] a
- versus - VILLARAMA, JR., JJ. petition for the probate of Basilios will, docketed as SP No. 1549-M. The will was admitted to
probate by Branch 10 of the RTC and Ma. Pilar was appointed executrix.

ZOILO S. SANTIAGO, FELICIDAD The will contained the following provisions, among others:
SANTIAGO-RIVERA, HEIRS OF 4. Ang mga ari-arian ko na nasasaysay sa itaas ay INIWAN,
RICARDO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF IPINAGKAKALOOB, IBINIBIGAY, at IPINAMAMANA ko sa aking mga
CIPRIANO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF nasabing tagapagmana sa ilalim ng gaya ng sumusunod:
TOMAS SANTIAGO,
Respondents.

FILEMON SOCO, LEONILA SOCO, xxxx


ANANIAS SOCO, URBANO SOCO,
GERTRUDES SOCO AND HEIRS OF c) ang aking anak na si Ma. Pilar ang magpapalakad at
CONSOLACION SOCO, mamamahala ng balutan na nasa Santiago, Malolos, Bulacan, na
Oppositors. Promulgated: nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(y);
August 9, 2010
d) Sa pamamahala ng bigasan, pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop
x--------------------------------------------------x at lupat bahay sa Maynila, ang lahat ng solar sa danay ng daang Malolos-
Paombong na nasa Malolos, Bulacan, kasali at kasama ang palaisdaan
na nasa likuran niyon, ay ililipat sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at Clemente;
ngunit ang kita ng palaisdaan ay siyang gagamitin nila sa lahat at
anomang kailangang gugol, maging majora o roperacion [sic], sa lupat
bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(c);

DECISION e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa


itaas na 2(c) ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at
Clemente hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila kundi upang pamahalaan
CARPIO MORALES, J.: at pangalagaan lamang nila at nang ang sinoman sa aking mga anak
sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa habang panahon ay may
Basilio Santiago (Basilio) contracted three marriagesthe first to Bibiana Lopez, the tutuluyan kung magnanais na mag-aral sa Maynila o kalapit na mga
second to Irene Santiago, and the third to Cecilia Lomotan. Basilio and his first wife bore two lunsod x x x.
offsprings, Irene and Marta, the mother of herein oppositors Felimon, Leonila, Consolacion,
Ananias, Urbano, and Gertrudes, all surnamed Soco. f) Ang bigasan, mga makina at pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop
ay ipinamamana ko sa aking asawa, Cecilia Lomotan, at mga anak na
Zoilo, Ma. Pilar, Ricardo, Cipriano, Felicidad, Eugenia, Clemente, at
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Cleotilde nang pare-pareho. Ngunit, sa loob ng dalawampong (20) prayed, inter alia, that an inventory and appraisal of all the properties of Basilio be conducted
taon mula sa araw ng aking kamatayan, hindi nila papartihin ito at and that Ma. Pilar and Clemente be required to submit a fresh accounting of all the incomes
pamamahalaan ito ni Clemente at ang maghahawak ng salaping of the properties from the time of Basilios death up to the time of the filing of Civil Case No.
kikitain ay si Ma. Pilar na siyang magpaparte. Ang papartihin lamang 562-M-90.[13]
ay ang kita ng mga iyon matapos na ang gugol na kakailanganin niyon,
bilang reparacion, pagpapalit o pagpapalaki ay maawas na. Ninais ko ang RTC-Branch 17 decided Civil Case No. 562-M-90 (for completion of legitime) in favor
ganito sa aking pagmamahal sa kanila at pagaaring ibinubuhay ko sa of the oppositors-heirs of the first marriage.
kanila lahat, bukod sa yaon ay sa kanila ding kapakinabangan at
kabutihan. On appeal (docketed as CA G.R. No. 45801), the Court of Appeals, by Decision of
January 25, 2002,[14] annulled the decision of RTC-Branch 17, holding that the RTC Branch
g) Ang lahat ng lupa, liban sa lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng 17 dismissal of the Complaint-in-Intervention in SP No. 1549-M and its August 14, 1978
Maynila, ay ipinapamana ko sa aking nasabing asawa, Cecilia Order approving the probate of the will constitute res judicata with respect to Civil Case No.
Lomotan, at mga anak na Tomas, Zoilo, Ma. Pilar, Ricardo, Cipriano, 562-M-90.[15] Thus the appellate court disposed:
Felicidad, Eugenia, Clemente at Cleotilde nang pare-
pareho. Datapwat, gaya din ng mga bigasan, makina at gawaan ng WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Appeal is
pagkain ng hayop, ito ay hindi papartihin sa loob ng dalawampong hereby GRANTED. The Decision in Civil Case No. 562-M-90 is
(20) taon mula sa aking pagpanaw, at pamamahalaan din nila Ma. hereby ANNULLED on the ground of res judicata. Let the Decree of
Pilar at Clemente. Ang mapaparte lamang ay ang kita o ani ng nasabing Distribution of the Estate of Basilio Santiago remain UNDISTURBED.
mga pag-aari matapos bayaran ang buwis at/o patubig at iba pang mga
gugol na kailangan. Si Ma. Pilar din ang hahawak ng ani o salaping SO ORDERED.[16] (emphasis in the original; underscoring
manggagaling dito. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)[3] supplied)
The oppositors-children of Marta, a daughter of Basilio and his first wife, were, on
their motion, allowed to intervene.[4]
Oppositors-heirs of the first marriage challenged the appellate courts decision in CA
After the executrix-petitioner Ma. Pilar filed a Final Accounting, Partition and G.R. No. 45801 by petition for review, docketed as G.R. No. 155606, which this Court
Distribution in Accordance with the Will,[5] the probate court approved the will by Order denied.[17] The denial became final and executory on April 9, 2003.[18]
of August 14, 1978 and directed the registers of deeds of Bulacan and Manila to register the
certificates of title indicated therein.[6] Accordingly, the titles to Lot Nos. 786, 837, 7922, 836 In the interregnum, or on October 17, 2000, respondent-heirs of the second marriage
and 838 in Malolos, Bulacan and Lot No. 8-C in Manila were transferred in the name of filed before the probate court (RTC-Branch 10) a Motion for Termination of
petitioners Ma. Pilar and Clemente.[7] Administration, for Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the Names of the
Legatees.[19] Citing the earlier quoted portions of Basilios will, they alleged that:
The oppositors thereafter filed a Complaint-in-Intervention[8] with the probate court,
alleging that Basilios second wife was not Irene but a certain Maria Arellano with whom he x x x x the twenty (20) year period within which subject
had no child; and that Basilios will violates Articles 979-981 of the Civil Code.[9] properties should be under administration of [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and
Clemente Santiago expired on September 16, 1993.
The probate court dismissed the Complaint-in-Intervention, citing its previous
approval of the Final Accounting, Partition, and Distribution in Accordance with the Will.[10] Consequently, [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago
should have ceased as such administrator[s] way back on September 16,
The oppositors-heirs of the first marriage thereupon filed a complaint for 1993 and they should have transferred the above said titles to the named
completion of legitime before the Bulacan RTC, docketed as Civil Case No. 562-M- legatees in the Last Will and Testament of the testator by then. Said
90,[11]against the heirs of the second and third marriages. named legatees in the Last Will and Testament are no[ne] other than the
following:
In their complaint, oppositors-heirs of the first marriage essentially maintained that
they were partially preterited by Basilios will because their legitime was reduced. [12]They thus xxxx
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The probate court, finding that the properties in question would be transferred to
Said [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago should have petitioners Ma. Pilar and Clemente for purposes of administration only, granted the motion,
also rendered an accounting of their administration from such death of the by Order of September 5, 2003,[23] disposing as follows:
testator up to the present or until transfer of said properties and its
administration to the said legatees. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Termination
of Administration, for Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the Names
x x x x[20] of the Legatees dated October 3, 2000filed by some heirs of the testator
Basilio Santiago xxx is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the administratrix
[sic] Ma. Pilar Santiago and Mr. Clemente Santiago are
Respondents prayed that petitioners be ordered: hereby DIRECTED,as follows:

1) To surrender the above-enumerated titles presently in their a.) To surrender the above-enumerated titles presently in their
names to [the] Honorable Court and to transfer the same in names to this Honorable Court and to transfer the same in
the names of the designated legatees in the Last Will and the names of the designated legatees in the Last Will and
Testament, to wit: Testament, to wit: 1.) asawa, Cecilia Lomotan at mga anak
na 2.) Tomas 3). Zoilo 4.) Ma. Pilar 5.) Ricardo 6.) Cipriano
1) asawa, Cecilia Lomotan, at mga anak na 7.) Felicidad 8.) Eugenia 9.) Clemente and 10.) Cleotilde all
2) Tomas named SANTIAGO.
3) Zoilo b.) To peacefully surrender possession and administration of
4) Ma. Pilar subject properties including any and all improvements
5) Ricardo thereon, to said legatees; and
6) Cipriano c.) To render an accounting of their administration of subject
7) Felicidad properties, including any and all improvements thereon, to
8) Eugenia said legatees; and
9) Clemente at d.) To submit an accounting of their administration of the above-
10) Cleotilde mentioned estate of the testator or all the above said lots
(all surnamed SANTIAGO) including the rice mill, animal feeds factory, and all
improvements thereon from August 14, 1978 up to the
2) To peacefully surrender possession and administration of present.
subject properties, including any and all improvements e.) To submit a proposed Project of Partition, indicating how the
thereon, to said legatees. parties may actually partition or adjudicate all the above said
properties including the properties already in the name of all
3) To render an accounting of their administration of said the said legatees xxx.
properties and other properties of the testator under their
administration, from death of testator Basilio Santiago x x x x.
on September 16, 1973 up to the present and until
possession and administration thereof is transferred to said Further, the Register of Deeds of Bulacan are
legatees.[21] hereby DIRECTED to cancel and consider as no force and effects
Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-249177 (RT-46294) [Lot No. 786], T-
Opposing the motion, petitioners argued that with the approval of the Final 249175 (RT-46295) [Lot No. 837], T-249174 (RT-46296) [Lot No. 7922],
Accounting, Partition and Distribution in Accordance with the Will, and with the subsequent T-249173 (RT-46297) [Lot No. 836], and T-249176 (RT-46293) [Lot No.
issuance of certificates of title covering the properties involved, the case had long since been 838] in the names of Ma. Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago and to
closed and terminated.[22] issue new ones in the lieu thereof in the names of Cecilia Lomotan-
Santiago, Tomas Santiago, Zoilo Santiago, Ma. Pilar Santiago,
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Ricardo Santiago, Cipriano Santiago, Felicidad Santiago, Eugenia Clemente Santiago remain the executor and administrator of the estate of
Santiago, Clemente Santiago, and Cleotilde Santiago. the deceased and as such, they are required by law to render an
accounting thereof from August 14, 1978 up to the present; there is also
Moreover, the Register of Deeds of Manila is now a need to partition and distribute the aforesaid properties as the
hereby DIRECTED to cancel and consider as no force and effect Transfer prohibition period to do so has elapsed. (emphasis and underscoring
Certificate of Title No. 131044 [Lot No. 8-C] in the names of Ma. Pilar supplied)[25]
Santiago and Clemente Santiago and to issue new ones in lieu thereof in
the names of the Heirs of Bibiana Lopez, the Heirs of Irene Santiago, and
the Heirs of Cecilia Lomotan. Petitioners, together with the oppositors, filed a motion for reconsideration, [26] which
the probate court denied, drawing them to appeal to the Court of Appeals which docketed it
The Motion to Suspend Proceedings filed by Filemon, Leonila, as CA G.R. No. 83094.
Ma. Concepcion, Ananias, Urbano and Gertrudes, all surnamed Soco,
dated December 3, 2002, is hereby DENIEDfor lack of merit.[24]

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the probate court,[27] hence, the
petition[28]which raises the following grounds:

I.
Respecting petitioners argument that the case had long been closed and terminated,
the trial court held: CAN THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS REVERSE ITSELF

x x x x [I]t is clear from the Last Will and Testament that subject A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT BINDING ITSELF
properties cannot actually be partitioned until after 20 years from the WITH ITS PREVIOUS DECISION INVOLVING THE SAME PARTIES
death of the testator Basilio Santiago x x x x. It is, therefore, clear that AND SAME PROPERTIES;
something more has to be done after the approval of said Final B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RTC AS
Accounting, Partition, and Distribution. The testator Basilio Santiago died IT AGREED WITH THE RTC THAT THIS CASE IS NOT BARRED
on September 16, 1973, hence, the present action can only be filed BY RES JUDICATA;
after September 16, 1993. Movants cause of action accrues only from the C. IN C.A.-G.R. NO. 45801, THE HONORABLE COURT OF
said date and for which no prescription of action has set in. APPEALS HELD THAT THERE WAS RES JUDICATA; IN C.A.-G.R.
CV NO. 83094, THERE WAS NO RES JUDICATA.
The principle of res judicata does not apply in the present
probate proceeding which is continuing in character, and terminates II.
only after and until the final distribution or settlement of the whole
estate of the deceased in accordance with the provision of the will of GRANTING THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS ALL THE
the testator. The Order dated August 14, 1978 refers only to the COMPETENCE AND JURISDICTION TO REVERSE ITSELF, STILL
accounting, partition, and distribution of the estate of the deceased for the THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RTCS ORDER
period covering from the date of the filing of the petition for probate on TO TRANSFER THE MANILA PROPERTY COVERED BY TCT NO.
December 27, 1973 up to August 14, 1978. And in the said August 14, 131004 TO THE NAMES OF CECILIA LOMOTAN, TOMAS, ZOILO, MA.
1978 order it does not terminate the appointment of petitioner[s] Ma. PILAR, RICARDO, CIPRIANO FELICIDAD, EUGENIA, CLEMENTE
Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago as executrix and administrator, AND CLEOTILDE, ALL SURNAMED SANTIAGO.[29] (emphasis in the
respectively, of the estate of the deceased particularly of those properties original)
which were prohibited by the testator to be partitioned within 20 years
from his death. Since then up to the present, Ma. Pilar Santiago and
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culminate after 20 years or on September 16, 1993, when the prohibition to partition the
The petition lacks merit. properties of the decedent would be lifted.
Petitioners argument that the decision of the appellate court in the earlier CA-G.R.
NO. 45801 (upheld by this Court in G.R. No. 155606) constitutes res judicata to the Finally, petitioners object to the inclusion of the house and lot in Manila, covered by
subsequent CA G.R. No. 83094 (the subject of the present petition for review) fails. TCT No. 131044, among those to be transferred to the legatees-heirs as it would contravene
the testators intent that no one is to own the same.
Res judicata has two aspects, which are embodied in Sections 47 (b) and 47 (c) of
Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.[30] The first, known as bar by prior The Court is not persuaded. It is clear from Basilios will that he intended the house
judgment, proscribes the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand or and lot in Manila to be transferred in petitioners names for administration purposes only, and
cause of action already settled in a prior action.[31] The second, known as conclusiveness of that the property be owned by the heirs in common, thus:
judgment, ordains that issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be
raised in any future case between the same parties involving a different cause of action. [32] e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa itaas
na 2(c) ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at Clemente hindi
Both aspects of res judicata, however, do not find application in the present bilang pamana ko sa kanila kundi upang pamahalaan at
case. The final judgment regarding oppositors complaint on the reduction of their legitime in pangalagaan lamang nila at nang ang sinoman sa aking mga anak
CA-G.R. NO. 45801 does not dent the present petition, which solely tackles the propriety of sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa habang panahon ay may tutuluyan
the termination of administration, accounting and transfer of titles in the names of the kung magnanais na mag-aral sa Maynila o kalapit na mga lunsod sa
legatees-heirs of the second and third marriages. There is clearly no similarity of claim, medaling salita, ang bahay at lupang itoy walang magmamay-
demand or cause of action between the present petition and G.R. No. 155606. ari bagkus ay gagamitin habang panahon ng sinomang magnanais sa
aking kaapuapuhan na tumuklas ng karunungan sa paaralan sa Maynila
While as between the two cases there is identity of parties, conclusiveness of at katabing mga lunsod x x x x[33] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
judgment cannot likewise be invoked. Again, the judgment in G.R. No. 155606 would only
serve as an estoppel as regards the issue on oppositors supposed preterition and reduction
of legitime, which issue is not even a subject, or at the very least even invoked, in the present But the condition set by the decedent on the propertys indivisibility is subject to a
petition. statutory limitation. On this point, the Court agrees with the ruling of the appellate court, viz:

What is clear is that petitioners can invoke res judicata insofar as the judgment in For this Court to sustain without qualification, [petitioners]s
G.R. No. 155606 is concerned against the oppositors only. The records reveal, however, contention, is to go against the provisions of law, particularly Articles 494,
that the oppositors did not appeal the decision of the appellate court in this case and were 870, and 1083 of the Civil Code, which provide that the prohibition to
only impleaded pro forma parties. divide a property in a co-ownership can only last for twenty (20)
years x x x x
Apparently, petitioners emphasize on the directive of the appellate court in CA G.R.
No. 45801 that the decree of distribution of the estate of Basilio should remain xxxx
undisturbed. But this directive goes only so far as to prohibit the interference of the
oppositors in the distribution of Basilios estate and does not pertain to x x x x Although the Civil Code is silent as to the effect of the
respondents supervening right to demand the termination of administration, accounting and indivision of a property for more than twenty years, it would be contrary to
transfer of titles in their names. public policy to sanction co-ownership beyond the period expressly
mandated by the Civil Code x x x x[34]
Thus, the Order of September 5, 2003 by the probate court granting respondents
Motion for Termination of Administration, for Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the
Names of the Legatees is a proper and necessary continuation of the August 14, 1978 Order
that approved the accounting, partition and distribution of Basilios estate. As did the appellate
court, the Court notes that the August 14, 1978 Order was yet to become final pending the
whole settlement of the estate. And final settlement of the estate, in this case, would
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legitimes,[3]as provided in her will. Some of Doa Margarita Rodriguezs testamentary


dispositions contemplated the creation of a trust to manage the income from her properties
for distribution to beneficiaries specified in the will, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
xxxx
HILARION, JR. and ENRICO ORENDAIN, represented G.R. No. 168660
by FE D. ORENDAIN, CLAUSULA SEGUNDA O PANG-DALAWA: - x x x Ipinaguutos ko
Petitioners,[1] Present: na matapos magawa ang pagaayos ng aking Testamentaria at masara na
ang Expediente ng aking Testamentaria, ang lahat ng pagaare ko sa aking
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J., ipinaguutos na pangasiwaan sa habang panahon ay ipagbukas sa Juzgado
Chairperson, ng tinatawag na FIDEICOMISO at ang ilalagay na fideicomisario ang manga
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO, taong nasabi ko na sa itaas nito, at ang kanilang gaganahin ay ang nasasabi
VELASCO, JR., sa testamentong ito na gaganahen ng tagapangasiwa at albacea. x x x x
NACHURA, and
PERALTA, JJ. CLAUSULA TERCERA O PANG-TATLO: - Ipinaguutos ko na ang kikitain ng
TRUSTEESHIP OF THE ESTATE OF DOA lahat ng aking pagaare, na ang hindi lamang kasama ay ang aking lupain na
MARGARITA RODRIGUEZ, Promulgated: nasasabi sa Certificado de Transferencia de Titulo No. 7156 (Lote No. 1088-
Respondent. C), Certificado Original de Titulo No. 4588 (LOTE No. 2492), Certificado
June 30, 2009 Original de Titulo No. 4585 (Lote No. 1087) ng lalawigan ng Quezon, at ang
bahaging maytanim na palay ng lupang nasasaysay sa Certificado Original
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x de Titulo No. 4587 (Lote No. 1180) ng Quezon, ay IIPUNIN SA BANCO
upang maibayad sa anillaramiento, ang tinatawag na estate Tax, ang
impuesto de herencia na dapat pagbayaran ng aking pinagbibigyan na
DECISION kasama na din ang pagbabayaran ng Fideicomiso, gastos sa abogado na
magmamakaalam ng testamentaria at gastos sa Husgado. Ngunit bago
NACHURA, J.: ipasok sa Banco ang kikitaen ng nabangit na manga gagaare, ay aalisin
muna ang manga sumusunod na gastos:

xxxx
This petition for certiorari, filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assails the Order [2] of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 4 in SP. PROC. No. 51872 which denied CLAUSULA DECIMA O PANG-SAMPU: - Ipinaguutos ko na ang manga
petitioners (Hilarion, Jr. and Enrico Orendain, heirs of Hilarion Orendain, Sr.) Motion to pagaareng nasasabi sa Clausulang ito ay pangangasiwaan sa habang
Dissolve the Trusteeship of the Estate of Doa Margarita Rodriguez. panahon, at ito nga ang ipagbubukas ng Fideicomiso sa Jusgado
pagkatapos na maayos ang naiwanan kong pagaare. Ang pangangasiwaang
First, we revisit the long settled facts. pagaare ay ang manga sumusunod:

On July 19, 1960, the decedent, Doa Margarita Rodriguez, died in Manila, leaving a xxxx
last will and testament. On September 23, 1960, the will was admitted to probate by virtue of
the order of the Court of First Instance of Manila City (CFI Manila) in Special Proceeding No. Ang lahat ng pagaaring nasasabe sa Clusulang ito (hindi kasama ang
3845. On August 27, 1962, the CFI Manila approved the project of partition presented by the generator at automovil) hindi maisasanla o maipagbibili kailan man,
executor of Doa Margarita Rodriguezs will. maliban sa pagaaring nasa Quezon Boulevard, Maynila, na maaring
isanla kung walang fondo na gagamitin sa ipagpapaigui o
At the time of her death, the decedent left no compulsory or forced heirs and, ipagpapagawa ng panibago alinsunod sa kaayusang hinihingi ng
consequently, was completely free to dispose of her properties, without regard to panahon.
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xxxx The codal provision does not need any interpretation. It speaks categorically.
What is declared void is the testamentary disposition prohibiting alienation
CLAUSULA DECIMA SEGUNDA O PANG-LABING DALAWA: - Ang after the twenty-year period. In the interim, such a provision does not suffer
kuartang matitipon sa Banco ayon sa tagubilin na nasasaysay sa Clausulang from the vice of invalidity. It cannot be stricken down. Time and time again,
sinusundan nito ay gagamitin sa manga sumusunod na pagkakagastusan; at We have said, and We now repeat, that when a legal provision is clear and to
ganito din ang gagawin sa lahat ng aking pagaare na nasasakop ng the point, there is no room for interpretation. It must be applied according to
fideicomiso at walang ibang pinaguukulan. Ang pagkakagastusan na ito ay its literal terms.
ang sumusunod:
Even with the purpose that the testatrix had in mind were not as unequivocal,
xxxx still the same conclusion emerges. There is no room for intestacy as would
be the effect if the challenged resolution of January 8, 1968 were not set
CLAUSULA VIGESIMA CUARTA O PANG-DALAWANGPU AT APAT: - aside. The wishes of the testatrix constitute the law. Her will must be given
Ipinaguutos ko sa aking manga Tagapangasiwa na sa fondong ipinapasok sa effect. This is so even if there could be an element of uncertainty insofar as
Banco para sa gastos ng Nia Maria, Misa at iba pa, kukuha sila na the ascertainment thereof is concerned. In the language of a Civil Code
kakailanganin para maitulong sa manga sumusunod: Florentina Luna, provision: If a testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations, in
Roberta Ponce, Marciada Ponce, Benita Ponce, Constancia Pineda, Regino case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative
Pineda, Tomas Payumo, Rosito Payumo, Loreto Payumo, Brigido Santos at shall be preferred. Nor is this all. A later article of the Civil Code equally calls
Quintin Laino, Hilarion Orendain at manga anak. Ang manga dalaga kung for observance. Thus: The words of a will are to receive an interpretation
sakali at inabutan ng pagkamatay ko na ako ay pinagtiisan at hindi which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one which will
humiwalay sa akin, kung magkasakit ay ipagagamot at ibabayad sa medico, render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a
at ibibili ng gamot, at kung kailangan ang operacion ay ipaooperacion at will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy.
ipapasok sa Hospital na kinababagayan ng kaniyang sakit, at kahit
maypagkakautang pa sa impuesto de herencia at estate tax ay ikukuha sa xxxx
nasabing fondo at talagang ibabawas doon, at ang paggagamot ay huag
pagtutuusan, at ang magaalaga sa kanya ay bibigyan ng gastos sa pagkain Nothing can be clearer, therefore, than that [Petra, Antonia and Rosa, all
at sa viaje at iba pa na manga kailangan ng nagaalaga. Kung nasa provincia surnamed Rodriguez] could not challenge the provision in question. [They]
at dadalhin ditto sa Maynila ay bibigyan ng gastos sa viaje ang maysakit at had no right to vindicate. Such a right may never arise. The twenty-year
ang kasama sa viaje, at ang magaalaga ay dito tutuloy sa bahay sa Tuberias period is still with us. What would transpire thereafter is still locked up in the
at Tanduay na natatalaga sa manga may servicio sa akin, at kung mamatay inscrutable future, beyond the power of mere mortals to foretell. At any rate,
at gusting iuwi sa provincia ang bangkay ay iupa at doon ilibing at dapit ng We cannot anticipate. Nor should We. We do not possess the power either of
Pare at hated sa nicho na natotoka sa kanya. Ganito din ang gagawain kung conferring a cause of action to a party when, under the circumstances
mayasawa man ay nasa poder ko ng ako ay mamatay. Ang wala sa poder ko disclosed, it had none.[7]
datapua at nagservicio sa akin, kaparis ng encargado, ang gagawaing tulong
ay ipagagamot, ibibili ng gamot at kung kailangan ang operacion o matira sa
Hospital, ipaooperacion at ipagbabayad sa Hospital.[4] (emphasis supplied) Almost four decades later, herein petitioners Hilarion, Jr. and Enrico Orendain, heirs of
Hilarion Orendain, Sr. who was mentioned in Clause 24 of the decedents will, moved to
xxxx dissolve the trust on the decedents estate, which they argued had been in existence for more
than twenty years, in violation of Articles 867[8] and 870 of the Civil Code, and inconsistent
with our ruling in Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals.[9]
As regards Clause 10 of the will which explicitly prohibits the alienation or mortgage of the
properties specified therein, we had occasion to hold, in Rodriguez, etc., et al. v. Court of On April 18, 2005, the RTC issued the herein assailed Order:[10]
Appeals, et al.,[5] that the clause, insofar as the first twenty-year period is concerned, does
not violate Article 870[6] of the Civil Code. We declared, thus:
8

The above-cited provisions of the civil code find no application in the present
motion to dissolve the trust created by the testatrix. There is no question that 2. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT IS CORRECT IN STATING THAT THE
the testamentary disposition of Doa Margarita Rodriguez prohibiting the ABOVE-CITED PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL CODE FINDS NO
mortgage or sale of properties mentioned in clause X of her Last Will and APPLICATION IN THE PRESENT MOTION TO DISSOLVE THE TRUST
Testament forevermore is void after the lapse of the twenty year period. CREATED BY THE TESTATRIX.
However, it does not mean that the trust created by [the] testatrix in order to
carry out her wishes under clauses 12, 13 and 24 will also become void upon 3. CONCOMITANT THERETO, [WHETHER] THE LOWER
expiration of the twenty year period. As ruled by the Supreme Court in COURT [IS] CORRECT IN APPLYING ARTICLE 1013 PARAGRAPH 4 OF
Emetrio Barcelon v. CA, the codal provision cited in Art. 870 is clear and THE CIVIL CODE.[11]
unequivocal and does not need any interpretation. What is declared void is
the testamentary disposition prohibiting alienation after the twenty year
period. Hence, the trustees may dispose of the properties left by the testatrix Before we delve into the foregoing issues, it is noteworthy that the present petition, albeit
in order to carry out the latters testamentary disposition. captioned as a petition for certiorari, is actually a petition for review on certiorari,raising only
pure questions of law. On more than one occasion, we have allowed erroneously labeled
The question as to whether a trust can be perpetual, the same finds support actions based on the averments contained in the petition or complaint. [12]Thus, we now
in Article 1013[,] paragraph 4 of the Civil Code, which provides that the disregard the incorrect designation and treat this as a petition for review on certiorari under
Court, at the instance of an interested party or its motion, may order the Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
establishment of a permanent trust so that only the income from the property
shall be used. In the present case, the testatrix directed that all the twenty The petition is impressed with merit.
five (25) pieces of property listed in the tenth clause should be placed under
the trusteeship and should be perpetually administered by the trustees and a The issues being intertwined, we shall discuss them jointly.
certain percentage of the income from the trust estate should be deposited in
a bank and should be devoted for the purposes specifically indicated in the Quite categorical from the last will and testament of the decedent is the creation of a
clauses 12, 13 and 24. perpetual trust for the administration of her properties and the income accruing therefrom, for
specified beneficiaries. The decedent, in Clause 10 of her will, listed a number of properties
The wishes of the testatrix constitute the law. Her will must be given to be placed under perpetual administration of the trust. In fact, the decedent unequivocally
effect. This is even if there could be an element of uncertainty insofar as the forbade the alienation or mortgage of these properties. In all, the decedent did not
ascertainment thereof is concerned. This Court so emphatically expressed it contemplate the disposition of these properties, but only sought to bequeath the income
in a decision rendered more than sixty years ago. Thus, respect for the will of derived therefrom to various sets of beneficiaries.
a testator as [an] expression of his last testamentary disposition, constitutes
the principal basis of the rules which the law prescribes for the correct On this score, we held in Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals[13] that the perpetual
interpretation of all of the clauses of the will; the words and provision therein prohibition was valid only for twenty (20) years. We affirmed the CAs holding that the trust
written must be plainly construed in order to avoid a violation of his intentions stipulated in the decedents will prohibiting perpetual alienation or mortgage of the properties
and real purpose. The will of the testator clearly and explicitly stated must be violated Articles 867 and 870 of the Civil Code. However, we reversed and set aside the CAs
respected and complied with as an inviolable law among the parties in decision which declared that that portion of the decedents estate, the properties listed in
interest. Such is the doctrine established by the Supreme Court of Spain, Clause 10 of the will, ought to be distributed based on intestate succession, there being no
constantly maintained in a great number of decisions. institution of heirs to the properties covered by the perpetual trust.

As previously quoted, we reached a different conclusion and upheld the trust, only
Hence, this petition, positing the following issues: insofar as the first twenty-year period is concerned. We refrained from forthwith declaring the
decedents testamentary disposition as void and the properties enumerated in Clause 10 of
1. WHETHER THE TRUSTEESHIP OVER THE PROPERTIES LEFT BY the will as subject to intestate succession. We held that, in the interim, since the twenty-year
DOA MARGARITA RODRIGUEZ CAN BE DISSOLVED APPLYING period was then still upon us, the wishes of the testatrix ought to be respected.
ARTICLES 867 AND 870 OF THE CIVIL CODE.
9

Thus, at present, there appears to be no more argument that the trust created over (2) When the will does not institute an heir to, or dispose of all the property
the properties of the decedent should be dissolved as the twenty-year period has, quite belonging to the testator. In such case, legal succession shall take place only
palpably, lapsed. with respect to the property of which the testator has not disposed;

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the RTC ruled otherwise and held that: (a) only the xxx
perpetual prohibition to alienate or mortgage is declared void; (b) the trust over her properties
stipulated by the testatrix in Clauses 12, 13 and 24 of the will remains valid; and (c) the
trustees may dispose of these properties in order to carry out the latters testamentary We find as erroneous the RTCs holding that paragraph 4, [14] Article 1013 of the same code
disposition. specifically allows a perpetual trust, because this provision of law is inapplicable. Suffice it to
state that the article is among the Civil Code provisions on intestate succession, specifically
We disagree. on the State inheriting from a decedent, in default of persons entitled to succeed. Under this
article, the allowance for a permanent trust, approved by a court of law, covers property
Apparent from the decedents last will and testament is the creation of a trust on a inherited by the State by virtue of intestate succession. The article does not cure a void
specific set of properties and the income accruing therefrom. Nowhere in the will can it be testamentary provision which did not institute an heir. Accordingly, the article cannot be
ascertained that the decedent intended any of the trusts designated beneficiaries to inherit applied to dispose of herein decedents properties.
these properties. The decedents will did not institute any heir thereto, as clearly shown by the
following: We are not unmindful of our ruling in Palad, et al. v. Governor of Quezon Province, et
1. Clause 2 instructed the creation of trust; al.[15] where we declared, thus:
2. Clause 3 instructed that the remaining income from specified properties, after the
necessary deductions for expenses, including the estate tax, be deposited in a fund with a Article 870 of the New Civil Code, which regards as void any disposition of
bank; the testator declaring all or part of the estate inalienable for more than 20
3. Clause 10 enumerated the properties to be placed in trust for perpetual years, is not violated by the trust constituted by the late Luis Palad; because
administration (pangasiwaan sa habang panahon); the will of the testator does not interdict the alienation of the parcels devised.
4. Clauses 11 and 12 directed how the income from the properties ought to be The will merely directs that the income of said two parcels be utilized for the
divided among, and distributed to the different beneficiaries; and establishment, maintenance and operation of the high school.
5. Clause 24 instructed the administrators to provide medical support to certain
beneficiaries, to be deducted from the fund deposits in the bank mentioned in Clauses 2 and Said Article 870 was designed to give more impetus to the socialization of
3. the ownership of property and to prevent the perpetuation of large holdings
which give rise to agrarian troubles. The trust herein involved covers only two
Plainly, the RTC was mistaken in denying petitioners motion to dissolve and ordering lots, which have not been shown to be a large landholding. And the income
the disposition of the properties in Clause 10 according to the testatrixs wishes. As regards derived therefrom is being devoted to a public and social purpose the
these properties, intestacy should apply as the decedent did not institute an heir therefor. education of the youth of the land. The use of said parcels therefore is in a
Article 782, in relation to paragraph 2, Article 960 of the Civil Code, provides: sense socialized. There is no hint in the record that the trust has spawned
agrarian conflicts.[16]
Art. 782. An heir is a person called to the succession either by the provision
of a will or by operation of law.
In this case, however, we reach a different conclusion as the testatrix specifically prohibited
xxxx the alienation or mortgage of her properties which were definitely more than the two (2)
properties in the aforecited case. The herein testatrixs large landholdings cannot be
Art. 960. Legal or intestate succession takes place: subjected indefinitely to a trust because the ownership thereof would then effectively remain
with her even in the afterlife.
xxxx
In light of the foregoing, therefore, the trust on the testatrixs properties must be dissolved and
this case remanded to the lower court to determine the following:
10

1. The properties listed in Clause 10 of the will, constituting the perpetual trust, which are still judgment on the sum so attached. The defendants contend that the plaintiff is the decedent's
within reach and have not been disposed of as yet; and universal heiress, and pray for the dissolution of the injunction.
2. The intestate heirs of the decedent, with the nearest relative of the deceased entitled to The court below held that said La Urbana deposit belongs to the plaintiff's children as
inherit the remaining properties. fideicommissary heirs of Ana Maria Alcantara, and granted a final writ of injunction.
The defendants insist in their contentions, and, in their appeal from the decision of the trial
One final note. To obviate confusion, we clarify that the petitioners, although correct in court, assign the following errors:
moving for the dissolution of the trust after the twenty-year period, are not necessarily 1. The lower court erred in holding that a trust was created by the will of Doa Ana
declared as intestate heirs of the decedent. Our remand of the case to the RTC means that Maria Alcantara.
the probate court should now make a determination of the heirship of the intestate heirs of 2. The lower court erred in concluding and declaring that the amount of P21,428.58
the decedent where petitioners, and all others claiming to be heirs of the decedent, should deposited with La Urbana is the property of the children of the plaintiff as "herederos
establish their status as such consistent with our ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay v. Hon. del fidei-comisarios."
Rosario.[17] 3. The lower court erred in making the injunction permanent and condemning
defendant to pay the costs.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Order of the Regional The question here raised is confined to the scope and meaning of the institution of heirs
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 4 in SP. PROC. No. 51872 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. made in the will of the late Ana Maria Alcantara already admitted to probate, and whose legal
The trust approved by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 4 in SP. PROC. No. 51872 force and effect is not in dispute.
is DISSOLVED. We ORDER the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 4 in SP. PROC. No. The clauses of said will relevant to the points in dispute, between the parties are the ninth,
51872 to determine the following: tenth, and eleventh, quoted below:
Ninth. Being single and without any forced heir, to show my gratitude to my niece-in-
1. the properties listed in Clause 10 of Doa Margarita Rodriguezs will, constituting the law, Carmen Garchitorena, of age, married to my nephew, Joaquin Perez Alcantara,
perpetual trust, which are still within reach and have not been disposed of as yet; and and living in this same house with me, I institute her as my sole and universal heiress
2. the intestate heirs of Doa Margarita Rodriguez, with the nearest relative of the decedent to the remainder of my estate after the payment of my debts and legacies, so that
entitled to inherit the remaining properties. upon my death and after probate of this will, and after the report of the committee on
claims and appraisal has been rendered and approved, she will receive from my
SO ORDERED. executrix and properties composing my hereditary estate, that she may enjoy them
with God's blessing and my own.
CARMEN G. DE PEREZ, trustee of the estate of Ana Maria Alcantara, plaintiff-appellee, Tenth. Should my heiress Carmen Garchitorena die, I order that my whole estate
vs. shall pass unimpaired to her surviving children; and should any of these die, his
MARIANO GARCHITORENA, and JOSE CASIMIRO, Sheriff of the Court of First share shall serve to increase the portions of his surviving brothers (and sisters) by
Instance of Manila,defendants-appellants. accretion, in such wise that my estate shall never pass out of the hands of my heiress
L. D. Lockwood and Jose M. Casal for appellants. or her children in so far as it is legally possible.
Eduardo Gutierrez Repide and Leoncio B. Monzon for appellee. Eleventh. Should my aforesaid heiress, Carmen Garchitorena, die after me while her
ROMUALDEZ, J.: children are still in their minority, I order that my estate be administered by my
The amount of P21,428.58 is on deposit in the plaintiff's name with the association known executrix, Mrs. Josefa Laplana, and in her default, by Attorney Ramon Salinas and in
as La Urbana in Manila, as the final payment of the liquidated credit of Ana Maria Alcantara, his default, by his son Ramon Salinas; but the direction herein given must not be
deceased, whose heiress is said plaintiff, against Andres Garchitorena, also deceased, considered as an indication of lack of confidence in my nephew Joaquin Perez
represented by his son, the defendant Mariano Garchitorena. Alcantara, whom I relieve from the duties of administering my estate, because I
And as said Mariano Garchitorena held a judgment for P7,872.23 against Joaquin Perez recognize that his character is not adapted to management and administration.
Alcantara, husband of the plaintiff, Carmen G. de Perez, the sheriff pursuant to the writ of The appellants contend that in these clauses the testatrix has ordered a simple substitution,
execution issued in said judgment, levied an attachment on said amount deposited with La while the appellee contends that it is a fideicommissary substitution.
Urbana. This will certainly provides for a substitution of heirs, and of the three cases that might give
The plaintiff, alleging that said deposit belongs to the fideicommissary heirs of the decedent rise to a simple substitution (art. 774, Civil Code), only the death of the instituted heiress
Ana Maria Alcantara, secured a preliminary injunction restraining the execution of said before the testatrix would in the instant case give place to such substitution, inasmuch as
nothing is said of the waiver of inheritance, or incapacity to accept it. As a matter of fact,
11

however, clause XI provides for the administration of the estate in case the heiress instituted Clause X expressly provides for the substitution. It is true that it does not say whether the
should die after the testatrix and while the substitute heirs are still under age. And it is evident death of the heiress herein referred to is before or after that of the testatrix; but from the
that, considering the nature of simple substitution by the heir's death before the testator, and whole context it appears that in making the provisions contained in this clause X, the testatrix
the fact that by clause XI in connection with clause X, the substitution is ordered where the had in mind a fideicommissary substitution, since she limits the transmission of her estate to
heiress instituted dies after the testatrix, this cannot be a case of simple substitution. the children of the heiress by this provision, "in such wise that my estate shall never pass out
The existence of a substitution in the will is not and cannot be denied, and since it cannot be of the hands of my heiress or her children in so far as it is legally possible." Here it clearly
a simple substitution in the light of the considerations above stated, let us now see whether appears that the testatrix tried to avoid the possibility that the substitution might later be
the instants case is a fideicommissary substitution. legally declared null for transcending the limits fixed by article 781 of the Civil Code which
In clause IX, the testatrix institutes the plaintiff herein her sole and universal heiress, and prescribed that fideicommissary substitutions shall be valid "provided they do not go beyond
provides that upon her death (the testatrix's) and after probate of the will and approval of the the second degree."
report of the committee on claims and appraisal, said heiress shall receive and enjoy the Another clear and outstanding indication of fideicommissary substitution in clause X is the
whole hereditary estate. Although this clause provides nothing explicit about substitution, it provision that the whole estate shall pass unimpaired to the heiress's children, that is to say
does not contain anything in conflict with the idea of fideicommissary substitution. The fact the heiress is required to preserve the whole estate, without diminution, in order to pass it on
that the plaintiff was instituted the sole and universal heiress does not prevent her children in due time to the fideicommissary heirs. This provision complies with another of the
from receiving, upon her death and in conformity with the express desire of the testatrix, the requisites of fideicommissary substitution according to our quotation from Manresa inserted
latter's hereditary estate, as provided in the following (above quoted) clauses which cannot above.
be disregarded if we are to give a correct interpretation of the will. The word sole does not Lastly, clause XI more clearly indicates the idea of fideicommissary substitution, when a
necessarily exclude the idea of substitute heirs; and taking these three clauses together, provision is therein made in the event the heiress should die after the testatrix. That is, said
such word means that the plaintiff is the sole heiress instituted in the first instance. clause anticipates the case where the instituted heiress should die after the testatrix and after
The disposition contained in clause IX, that said heiress shall receive and enjoy the estate, is receiving and enjoying the inheritance.
not incompatible with a fideicommissary substitution (it certainly is incompatible with the idea The foregoing leads us to the conclusion that all the requisites of a fideicommissary
of simple substitution, where the heiress instituted does not receive the inheritance). In fact substitution, according to the quotation from Manresa above inserted, are present in the case
the enjoyment of the inheritance is in conformity with the idea of fideicommissary substitution, of substitution now under consideration, to wit:
by virtue of which the heir instituted receives the inheritance and enjoys it, although at the 1. At first heir primarily called to the enjoyment of the estate. In this case the plaintiff
same time he preserves it in order to pass it on the second heir. On this point the illustrious was instituted an heiress, called to the enjoyment of the estate, according to clause
Manresa, in his Civil Code (Vol. 6, pp. 142 and 143, 5th ed.), says: IX of the will.
Or, what amounts to the same thing, the fideicommissary substitution, as held in the 2. An obligation clearly imposed upon the heir to preserve and transmit to a third
Resolution of June 25, 1895, February 10, 1899, and July 19, 1909, requires three person the whole or a part of the estate. Such an obligation is imposed in clause X
things: which provides that the "whole estate shall pass unimpaired to her (heiress's)
1. A first heir called primarily to the enjoyment of the estate. surviving children;" thus, instead of leaving the heiress at liberty to dispose of the
2. An obligation clearly imposed upon him to preserve and transmit to a third person estate by will, or of leaving the law to take its course in case she dies intestate, said
the whole or a part of the estate. clause not only disposes of the estate in favor of the heiress instituted, but also
3. A second heir. provides for the disposition thereof in case she should die after the testatrix.
To these requisites, the decision of November 18, 1918 adds another, namely that 3. A second heir. Such are the children of the heiress instituted, who are referred to
the fideicommissarius be entitled to the estate from the time the testator dies, since as such second heirs both in clause X and in clause XI.
he is to inherit from the latter and not from the fiduciary. (Emphasis ours.) Finally, the requisite added by the decision of November 18, 1918, to wit, that the
It appears from this quotation that the heir instituted or the fiduciary, as referred to in articles fideicommissarius or second heir should be entitled to the estate from the time of the
783 of the Civil Code, is entitled to enjoy the inheritance. And it might here be observed, as a testator's death, which in the instant case, is, rather than a requisite, a necessary
timely remark, that the fideicommissum arising from a fideicommissary substitution, which is consequence derived from the nature of the fideicommissary substitution, in which the
of Roman origin, is not exactly equivalent to, nor may it be confused with, the English "trust." second heir does not inherit from the heir first instituted, but from the testator.
It should also be noted that said clause IX vests in the heiress only the right to enjoy but not By virtue of this consequence, the inheritance in question does not belong to the heiress
the right to dispose of the estate. It says, she may enjoy it, but does not say she may dispose instituted, the plaintiff herein, as her absolute property, but to her children, from the moment
of it. This is an indication of the usufruct inherent in fideicommissary substitution. of the death of the testatrix, Ana Maria Alcantara.
12

Therefore, said inheritance, of which the amount referred to at the beginning, which is on Clause IX of her last will reads as follows: .
deposit with the association known as La Urbana in the plaintiff's name, is a part, does not NOVENO. Ordeno que se de a mi nieta por parte de mi hermana mia y que al
belong to her nor can it be subject to the execution of the judgment against Joaquin Perez, mismo tiempo vive en mi casa, y, por tanto, bajo mi proteccion, y es la
who is not one of the fideicommissary heirs. CONSOLACION FLORENTINO:
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the appellant, Mariano (A). La mitad de mi casa de materials fuertes con techo de hierro galvanizado,
Garchitorena. So ordered. incluyendo la mitad de su solar, ubicado en la Poblacion de Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Calle
CONSOLACION FLORENTINO DE CRISOLOGO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, Plaridel, actualmente arrendada por los hermanos Fortunato, Teofilo y Pedro del
vs. appellido Kairuz. Pero si falleciere antes o despues que yo mi citada nieta, esta
DR. MANUEL SINGSON, defendant-appellant. propiedad se dara por partes iguales entre mis tres hermanos Evaristo, Manuel y
Felix V. Vergara for defendant-appellant. Dionisio, o a sus herederos forzosos en el caso de que alguno de ellas murieie antes
B. Martinez for plaintiffs-appellees. ... (Exhibit F.)
DIZON, J.: The issue to be decided is whether the testamentary disposition above-quoted provided for
Action for partition commenced by the spouses Consolacion Florentino and Francisco what is called sustitucion vulgar or for a sustitucion fideicomisaria. This issue is, we believe,
Crisologo against Manuel Singson in connection with a residential lot located a Plaridel St., controlled by the pertinent provisions of the Civil Code in force in the Philippines prior to the
Vigan, Ilocos Sur, with an area of approximately 193 square meters, and the improvements effectivity of the New Civil Code, in view of the fact that the testatrix died on January 13,
existing thereon, covered by Tax No. 10765-C. Their complaint alleged that Singson owned 1948. They are the following: .
one-half pro-indiviso of said property and that Consolacion Florentino owned the other half by Art. 774. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir or
virtue of the provisions of the duly probated last will of Da. Leona Singson, the original heirs instituted in case such heir or heirs should die before him, or should not wish or
owner, and the project of partition submitted to, and approved by the Court of First Instance should be unable to accept the inheritance.
of Ilocos Sur in special Proceeding No. 453; that plaintiffs had made demands for the partition A simple substitution, without a statement of the cases to which it is to apply, shall
of said property, but defendant refused to accede thereto, thus compelling them to bring include the three mentioned in the next preceeding paragraph, unless the testator
action. has otherwise provided:
Defendant's defense was that Consolacion Florentino was a mere usufructuary of, and not Art. 781. Fidei-commissary substitutions by virtue of which the heir is charged to
owner of one-half pro-indiviso of the property in question, and that, therefore, she was not preserve and transmit to a third person the whole or part of the inheritance shall be
entitled to demand partition thereof. valid and effective, provided they do not go beyond the second degree, or that they
After trial upon the issue thus posed, the lower court rendered judgment as follows: are made in favor of persons living at the time of the death of the testator." .
1. Declaring that the plaintiff is a co-owner pro-indiviso with the defendant of the Art. 785. The following shall be inoperative: .
house and lot described in the complaint to the extent of each of an undivided 1/2 1. Fiduciary substitutions not made expressly, either by giving them this name or by
portion thereof; . imposing upon the fiduciary the absolute obligation of delivering the property to a
2. Ordering the aforesaid co-owners to execute an agreement of partition of the said second heir." ....
property within 30 days from receipt of this judgment unless it be shown that the In accordance with the first legal provision quoted above, the testator may not only designate
division thereof may render it unserviceable, in which case the provisions of Art. 498 the heirs who will succeed him upon his death, but also provide for substitutes in the event
of the New Civil Code may be applied; .1wph1.t that said heirs do not accept or are in no position to accept the inheritance or legacies, or die
3. That in the event the said parties shall fail to do so, this Court will appoint the ahead of him.
corresponding commissioners to make the partition in accordance with law; and . The testator may also bequeath his properties to a particular person with the obligation, on
4. Without special pronouncement as to costs." . the part of the latter, to deliver the same to another person, totally or partially, upon the
From the above judgment, defendant Singson appealed. occurrence of a particular event (6 Manresa, p. 1112).
It is admitted that Da. Leona Singson, who died single on January 13, 1948, was the owner It is clear that the particular testamentary clause under consideration provides for a
of the property in question at the time of her death. On July 31, 1951 she executed her last substitution of the heir named therein in this manner: that upon the death of Consolacion
will which was admitted to probate in Special Proceeding No. 453 of the lower court whose Florentino whether this occurs before or after that of the testatrix the property
decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in G.R. No. 3605-R. At the time of the bequeathed to her shall be delivered ("se dara") or shall belong in equal parts to the
execution of the will, her nearest living relatives were her brothers Evaristo, Manuel and testatrix's three brothers, Evaristo, Manuel and Dionisio, or their forced heirs, should anyone
Dionisio Singson, her nieces Rosario, Emilia and Trinidad, and her grandniece Consolation, of them die ahead of Consolacion Florentino. If this clause created what is known
all surnamed Florentino. as sustitucion vulgar, the necessary result would be that Consolacion Florentino, upon the
13

death of the testatrix, became the owner of one undivided half of the property, but if it Florentino by the brothers of the testatrix to be effective or to take place upon the death of the
provided for a sustitution fideicomisaria, she would have acquired nothing more than former, whether it happens before or after that of the testatrix.
usufructuary rights over the same half. In the former case, she would undoubtedly be entitled IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the appealed judgment is affirmed, with costs.
to partition, but not in the latter. As Manresa says, if the fiduciary did not acquire full
ownership of the property bequeathed by will, but mere usufructuary rights thereon until the IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED REV. FATHER
time came for him to deliver said property to the fideicomisario, it is obvious that the nude TEODORO ARANAS, RAMONA B. VDA. DE ARANAS, ADELIA B. ARANAS-
ownership over the property, upon the death of the testatrix, passed to and was acquired by FERNANDEZ, HEIRS OF THE LATE RODULFO B. ARANAS, ETC., ET AL., petitioners,
another person, and the person cannot be other than the fideicomisario (6 Manresa p. 145). vs.
It seems to be of the essence of a fideicommissary substitution that an obligation be clearly VICENTE B. ARANAS AND HON. LUIS B. MANTA, respondents.
imposed upon the first heir to preserve and transmit to another the whole or part of the estate
bequeathed to him, upon his death or upon the happening of a particular event. For this
reason, Art. 785 of the old Civil Code provides that a fideicommissary substitution shall have PARAS, J.:
no effect unless it is made expressly ("de una manera expresa") either by giving it such This is a petition for certiorari which seeks to declare the orders of respondent Judge dated
name, or by imposing upon the first heir the absolute obligation ("obligacion terminante") to July 16, 1980 and September 23, 1980 as an exercise of a gross abuse of discretion
deliver the inheritance to a substitute or second heir. In this connection Manresa says: . amounting to lack of jurisdiction, by ruling that the properties under Group C of the testate
Para que la sustitucion sea fideicomisaria, es preciso segun el art. 781, que se estate of the late Fr.Teodoro Aranas are subject to remunerative legacies.
ordeno o encargue al primer heredero, cuando sea tal, que conserve y transmita a The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
una tercera persona o entidad el todo a parte de la herencia. O lo que es lo mismo, Fr. Teodoro Aranas, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, died on January 19, 1953. He
la sustitucion fideicomisaria, como declaran las resoluciones de 25 de Junio de 1895, had executed on June 6, 1946 his Last Will and Testament which was admitted to probate on
10 de Febrero de 1899 y 19 de Julio de 1909, exige tres requisitos: . August 31, 1956. In said Last Will and Testament, Fr. Teodoro Aranas stipulated the
1.o Un primer heredero llamado al goce de los bienes preferentemente. following:
2.o Obligacion claramente impuesta al mismo de conservar y transmitir a un tercero A. The return to Aniceto Aranas or his heirs of all properties acquired by Fr. Aranas from his
el todo o parte del caudal. brother Aniceto Aranas and ten (10) parcels of land described in the Will inherited by the
3.o Un segundo heredero. testator from his parents.
A estos requisitos anade la sentencia de 18 de Noviembre de 1918, otro mas, el del B. The return to Carmelo Aranas or his heirs of all properties acquired by Fr. Aranas from his
que el fideicomisario tenga derecho a los bienes de la herencia desde el momento brother Carmelo Aranas and ten (10) parcels of land described in the Will inherited by the
de la muerte del testador, puesto que ha de suceder a este y no al fiduciario. testator from his parents.
Por tanto, cuando el causante se limita a instituir dos herederos, y por fallecimiento C. The special administration of the remainder of the estate of the testator by Vicente Aranas,
de ambos o de cualquiera de ellos, asigna la parte del fallecido o fallecidos, a los a faithful and serviceable nephew and designating him also as recipient of 1/2 of the produce
herederos legitimos o a otras personas, solo existe una sustitucion vulgar, porque of said properties after deducting the expenses for the administration and the other 1/2 of the
falta el requisito de haberse impuesto a los primeros herederos la obligacion de produce to be given to the Catholic Church for the eternal repose of the testator's soul. Said
conservar y transmitir los bienes, y el articulo 789, en su parrafo primero, evige que pertinent provision 1 reads as follows:
la sustitucion sea expresa, ya dandole el testador el nombre de sustitucion Fourth. It is my will that the lands I had bought from other persons should be
fideicomisaria, ya imponiendo al sustituido la obligacion terminante de conservar y converged and placed under a "special administrator." The special
transmitir los bienes a un segundo heredero. administrator of these lands, for his office, should receive one half of all the
A careful perusal of the testamentary clause under consideration shows that the substitution produce from which shall be deducted the expenses for the administration,
of heirs provided for therein is not expressly made of the fideicommissary kind, nor does it and the other half of the produce should be received by the Roman Catholic
contain a clear statement to the effect that appellee, during her lifetime, shall only enjoy Church and should be spent for my soul, Vicente B. Aranas (Tingting),
usufructuary rights over the property bequeathed to her, naked ownership thereof being because he is a faithful and serviceable nephew, should be the first special
vested in the brothers of the testatrix. As already stated, it merely provides that upon administrator of said properties, without bond, until his death or until he
appellee's death whether this happens before or after that of the testatrix her share should not want to hold the said office anymore. Anyone of the sons of my
shall belong to the brothers of the testatrix. brother Carmelo Aranas can hold the said office of special administrator, and
In the light of the foregoing, we believe, and so hold, that the last will of the deceased Da. none other than they. Their father, my brother Carmelo Aranas shall be the
Leona Singson, established a mere sustitucion vulgar, the substitution Consolacion one to decide who among them shall hold the said office, but upon the death
14

of my said brother Carmelo Aranas, his said sons will have power to select Assailing the aforementioned ruling, petitioners rely heavily on the doctrine laid down in Art.
the one among them ourselves. The special administration is perpetual. 870 of the New Civil Code to wit:
The lower court in its Order 2 dated November 17, 1977 ruled, upon petitioners' (in Sp. Proc. Art. 870. The dispositions of the testator declaring all or part of the estate
No. 303) "Motion for the Declaration of Heirs and Partition; and for Removal of the inalienable for more than twenty years are void.
Administrator (Vicente Aranas) and/or for his Permission to Resign, and appointment of His A cursory reading of the English translation of the Last Will and Testament shows that it was
Successor" that the "perpetual inalienability and administration of the portion of the estate of the sincere intention and desire of the testator to reward his nephew Vicente Aranas for his
the late Rev. Fr. Teodoro Aranas, administered by Vicente Aranas, is nun and void after faithful and unselfish services by allowing him to enjoy one-half of the fruits of the testator's
twenty years from January 19, 1954 ... " and declared in the same order the heirs of the late third group of properties until Vicente's death and/or refusal to act as administrator in which
Fr. Teodoro Aranas. It also declared that "the removal of Vicente Aranas will, therefore, not case, the administration shall pass to anyone chosen by Carmelo Aranas among his sons
serve the ends of justice and for the best interest of all the heirs, particularly with respect to and upon Carmelo's death, his sons will have the power to select one among themselves.
the portion of the estate taken by the heirs of Aniceto Aranas, represented by the petitioners Vicente Aranas therefore as a usufructuary has the right to enjoy the property of his uncle
herein and the rest of the heirs of Carmelo, represented by the intervenors, coheirs of with all the benefits which result from the normal enjoyment (or exploitation) of another's
Administrator Vicente Aranas." 3 property, with the obligation to return, at the designated time, either the same thing, or in
However, the abovesaid Order was subsequently set aside upon the "Urgent Motion for special cases its equivalent. This right of Vicente to enjoy the fruits of the properties is
Reconsideration and to Declare Testate and Intestate Heirs of the late Fr. Teodoro Aranas," temporary and therefore not perpetual as there is a limitation namely his death or his refusal.
filed by the administrator Vicente Aranas on the allegation that said order was violative of due Likewise his designation as administrator of these properties is limited by his refusal and/or
process and without legal and factual basis because only the issue for the removal of the death and therefore it does not run counter to Art. 870 of the Civil Code relied upon by the
administrator was heard and not the matter of the declaration of heirs. Thus, the lower court petitioners. Be it noted that Vicente Aranas is not prohibited to dispose of the fruits and other
declared in its Order, 4 dated July 16, 1980 that the Order dated November 17, 1977 is "set benefits arising from the usufruct. Neither are the naked owners (the other heirs) of the
aside and in the interest of justice, reopened in order that other heirs, successors-in-interest properties, the usufruct of which has been given to Vicente Aranas prohibited from disposing
of Felino Aranas, 5 could likewise assert their claims, as in the case of the heirs of Aniceto of said naked ownership without prejudice of course to Vicente's continuing usufruct. To void
Aranas and Carmelo Aranas." 6 the designation of Vicente Aranas as usufructuary and/or administrator is to defeat the desire
Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied by the lower court in its order dated and the dying wish of the testator to reward him for his faithful and unselfish services
September 23, 1980, petitioners now come before Us by certiorari raising the issue that the rendered during the time when said testator was seriously ill or bed-ridden. The proviso must
lower court erred in setting aside its order dated November 17, 1977 and in not applying the be respected and be given effect until the death or until the refusal to act as such of the
provisions on Usufruct of the New Civil Code with respect to the properties referred to as instituted usufructuary/administrator, after which period, the property can be properly
Group "C" in the Last Will and Testament. disposed of, subject to the limitations provided in Art. 863 of the Civil Code concerning a
The court ruled in its questioned order that this particular group of properties (Group "C") is fideicommissary substitution, said Article says:
subject to the following: A fideicommissary substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or first heir
1. Remunerative legacy by way of usufruct of the net proceeds of 1/2 of the instituted is entrusted with the obligation to preserve and to transmit to a
estate after deducting expenses for administration in favor of Vicente Aranas, second heir the whole or part of the inheritance, shall be valid and shall take
during his lifetime and shall continue an administrator of the estate, and, effect, provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the
who, upon his death or refusal to continue such usufruct, may be succeeded heir originally instituted, and provided further, that the fiduciary or first heir
by any of the brothers of the administrator as selected by their father, and the second heir are living at the time of the death of the testator.
Carmelo Aranas, if still alive or one selected by his sons if, he, Carmelo, is It is contended by petitioners that the ruling made by respondent court dated November 17,
dead; Pursuant to the Will. (Article 562, 563, 564 and 603 of the New Civil 1977 was already final and not subject to correction as what was set aside and to be reheard
Code). was only regarding the determination of additional heirs. Such contention is not worthy of
2. Legacy in favor of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Archbishop credence. Respondents in their Memorandum allege and it is not disputed by petitioners that
diocese of Cagayan de Oro City Represented by the Reverend Archbishop the order of November 17, 1977 has not yet become final because it was received only on
Patrick H. Cronin over one-half of the proceeds of the properties under January 12, 1978 by the counsel for respondent Vicente Aranas and the Motion for
Group "C." (Article 603, New Civil Code) and to last for a period of Fifty years Reconsideration and to declare testamentary and intestate heirs dated January 17, 1978 was
from the effective date of the legacy, Article 605, New Civil Code). (Annex "L- filed by the said respondent within the reglementary period. Besides the validity or invalidity
14," p. 87, Rollo) of the usufructuary dispositions would affect the determination of heirs.
15

As to petitioners' allegation that the order of July 16, 1980 is without basis, the record shows Deuda al Banco de las Islas Filipinas, garan-
that during the hearing of the urgent motion for reconsideration and to declare testamentary tizada con prenda de las acciones de La Carlota ......... P 5,000,00
and intestate heirs, it was proven conclusively by the said respondent Vicente B. Aranas that VALOR LIQUIDO........................................... P507,976.97
he was instituted as a remunerative legatee per mandate of the Last Will and Testament by The testamentary dispositions are as follows:
way of usufructuary. Likewise the right of the Roman Catholic Church as the other A.En nuda propiedad, a D. Roberto y D. Jorge Ramirez, ambas menores
usufructuary legatee for the duration of the statutory lifetime of a corporation, that is, 50 years de edad, residentes en Manila, I.F., calle 'Alright, No. 1818, Malate, hijos de
from the date of the effectivity of said legacy, was also established. 7 su sobrino D. Jose Ma. Ramirez, con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed. respectivos descendientes, y, en su defecto, con sustitucion vulgar reciprocal
SO ORDERED. entre ambos.
G.R. No. L-27952 February 15, 1982 El precedente legado en nuda propiedad de la participacion indivisa de la
TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ, MARIA LUISA PALACIOS, finca Santa Cruz Building, lo ordena el testador a favor de los legatarios
Administratrix, petitioner-appellee, nombrados, en atencion a que dicha propiedad fue creacion del querido
vs. padre del otorgante y por ser aquellos continuadores del apellido Ramirez,
MARCELLE D. VDA. DE RAMIREZ, ET AL., oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO B.Y en usufructo a saber:
RAMIREZ, legatees, oppositors- appellants. a. En cuanto a una tercera parte, a favor de la esposa del testador, Da.
Marcelle Ramirez, domiciliada en IE PECO, calle del General Gallieni No.
ABAD SANTOS, J.: 33, Seine Francia, con sustitucion vulgar u fideicomisaria a favor de Da.
The main issue in this appeal is the manner of partitioning the testate estate of Jose Eugenio Wanda de Wrobleski, de Palma de Mallorca, Son Rapina Avenida de los
Ramirez among the principal beneficiaries, namely: his widow Marcelle Demoron de Reyes 13,
Ramirez; his two grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez; and his companion Wanda de b.Y en cuanto a las dos terceras partes restantes, a favor de la nombrada
Wrobleski. Da. Wanda de Nrobleski con sustitucion vulgar v fideicomisaria a saber:
The task is not trouble-free because the widow Marcelle is a French who lives in Paris, while En cuanto a la mitad de dichas dos terceras partes, a favor de D. Juan Pablo
the companion Wanda is an Austrian who lives in Spain. Moreover, the testator provided for Jankowski, de Son Rapina Palma de Mallorca; y encuanto a la mitad
substitutions. restante, a favor de su sobrino, D. Horace V. Ramirez, San Luis Building,
Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his Florida St. Ermita, Manila, I.F.
widow as compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of A pesar de las sustituciones fideiconiisarias precedentemente ordinadas, las
Manila, Branch X, on July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of the usufiructuarias nombradas conjuntamente con los nudo propietarios, podran
estate. In due time she submitted an inventory of the estate as follows: en cualquier memento vender a tercero los bienes objeto delegado, sin
INVENTARIO intervencion alguna de los titulares fideicomisaarios.
Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de un te On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted a project of partition as follows: the property
rreno, con sus mejoras y edificaciones, situadoen of the deceased is to be divided into two parts. One part shall go to the widow 'en pleno
la Escolta, Manila............................................................. P500,000.00 dominio" in satisfaction of her legitime; the other part or "free portion" shall go to Jorge and
Una sexta parte (1/6) proindiviso de dos Roberto Ramirez "en nuda propriedad." Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion is
parcelas de terreno situadas en Antipolo, Rizal................... 658.34 charged with the widow's usufruct and the remaining two-thirds (2/3) with a usufruct in favor
Cuatrocientos noventa y uno (491) acciones of Wanda.
de la 'Central Azucarera de la Carlota a P17.00 Jorge and Roberto opposed the project of partition on the grounds: (a) that the provisions for
por accion ................................................................................8,347.00 vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda de Wrobleski with respect to the widow's usufruct and in
Diez mil ochocientos seize (10,806) acciones favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio V. Ramirez, with respect to Wanda's usufruct are
de la 'Central Luzon Milling Co.', disuelta y en invalid because the first heirs Marcelle and Wanda) survived the testator; (b) that the
liquidacion a P0.15 por accion ..............................................1,620.90 provisions for fideicommissary substitutions are also invalid because the first heirs are not
Cuenta de Ahorros en el Philippine Trust related to the second heirs or substitutes within the first degree, as provided in Article 863 of
Co.............................................................................................. 2,350.73 the Civil Code; (c) that the grant of a usufruct over real property in the Philippines in favor of
TOTAL.............................................................. P512,976.97 Wanda Wrobleski, who is an alien, violates Section 5, Article III of the Philippine Constitution;
MENOS: and that (d) the proposed partition of the testator's interest in the Santa Cruz (Escolta)
16

Building between the widow Marcelle and the appellants, violates the testator's express win The appellants do not question the legality of the substitution so provided. The appellants
to give this property to them Nonetheless, the lower court approved the project of partition in question the sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria a favor de Da. Wanda de Wrobleski" in
its order dated May 3, 1967. It is this order which Jorge and Roberto have appealed to this connection with the one-third usufruct over the estate given to the widow Marcelle However,
Court. this question has become moot because as We have ruled above, the widow is not entitled to
1. The widow's legitime. any usufruct.
The appellant's do not question the legality of giving Marcelle one-half of the estate in full The appellants also question the sustitucion vulgar y fideicomisaria in connection with
ownership. They admit that the testator's dispositions impaired his widow's legitime. Indeed, Wanda's usufruct over two thirds of the estate in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace
under Art. 900 of the Civil Code "If the only survivor is the widow or widower, she or he shall v. Ramirez.
be entitled to one-half of the hereditary estate." And since Marcelle alone survived the They allege that the substitution in its vulgar aspect as void because Wanda survived the
deceased, she is entitled to one-half of his estate over which he could impose no burden, testator or stated differently because she did not predecease the testator. But dying before
encumbrance, condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever. (Art. 904, par. 2, Civil Code.) the testator is not the only case for vulgar substitution for it also includes refusal or incapacity
It is the one-third usufruct over the free portion which the appellants question and justifiably to accept the inheritance as provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code, supra. Hence, the vulgar
so. It appears that the court a quo approved the usufruct in favor of Marcelle because the substitution is valid.
testament provides for a usufruct in her favor of one-third of the estate. The court a quo erred As regards the substitution in its fideicommissary aspect, the appellants are correct in their
for Marcelle who is entitled to one-half of the estate "en pleno dominio" as her legitime and claim that it is void for the following reasons:
which is more than what she is given under the will is not entitled to have any additional (a) The substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda,
share in the estate. To give Marcelle more than her legitime will run counter to the testator's the heir originally instituted. Art. 863 of the Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution
intention for as stated above his dispositions even impaired her legitime and tended to favor "provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted."
Wanda. What is meant by "one degree" from the first heir is explained by Tolentino as follows:
2. The substitutions. Scaevola Maura, and Traviesas construe "degree" as designation,
It may be useful to recall that "Substitution is the appoint- judgment of another heir so that he substitution, or transmission. The Supreme Court of Spain has decidedly
may enter into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted." (Art. 857, Civil Code. adopted this construction. From this point of view, there can be only one
And that there are several kinds of substitutions, namely: simple or common, brief or tranmission or substitution, and the substitute need not be related to the first
compendious, reciprocal, and fideicommissary (Art. 858, Civil Code.) According to Tolentino, heir. Manresa, Morell and Sanchez Roman, however, construe the word
"Although the Code enumerates four classes, there are really only two principal classes of "degree" as generation, and the present Code has obviously followed this
substitutions: the simple and the fideicommissary. The others are merely variations of these interpretation. by providing that the substitution shall not go beyond one
two." (111 Civil Code, p. 185 [1973].) degree "from the heir originally instituted." The Code thus clearly indicates
The simple or vulgar is that provided in Art. 859 of the Civil Code which reads: that the second heir must be related to and be one generation from the first
ART. 859. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir.
heir or heirs instituted in case such heir or heirs should die before him, or From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be either a child or a
should not wish, or should be incapacitated to accept the inheritance. parent of the first heir. These are the only relatives who are one generation
A simple substitution, without a statement of the cases to which it refers, or degree from the fiduciary (Op. cit., pp. 193-194.)
shall comprise the three mentioned in the preceding paragraph, unless the (b) There is no absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit the usufruct to the substitutes as
testator has otherwise provided. required by Arts. 865 and 867 of the Civil Code. In fact, the appellee admits "that the testator
The fideicommissary substitution is described in the Civil Code as follows: contradicts the establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when he permits the
ART. 863. A fideicommissary substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or properties subject of the usufruct to be sold upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and
first heir instituted is entrusted with the obligation to preserve and to transmit the naked owners." (Brief, p. 26.)
to a second heir the whole or part of inheritance, shall be valid and shall take 3. The usufruct of Wanda.
effect, provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the The appellants claim that the usufruct over real properties of the estate in favor of Wanda is
heir originally instituted, and provided further that the fiduciary or first heir void because it violates the constitutional prohibition against the acquisition of lands by
and the second heir are living at time of the death of the testator. aliens.
It will be noted that the testator provided for a vulgar substitution in respect of the legacies of The 1935 Constitution which is controlling provides as follows:
Roberto and Jorge Ramirez, the appellants, thus: con sustitucion vulgar a favor de sus SEC. 5. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land
respectivos descendientes, y, en su defecto, con substitution vulgar reciprocal entre ambos. shall be transferred or assigned except to individuals, corporations, or
17

associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the (a) Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of
Philippines. (Art. XIII.) Title No. RT-4002 (10942), which is registered in my name according to the
The court a quo upheld the validity of the usufruct given to Wanda on the ground that the records of the Register of Deeds of Negros Occidental.
Constitution covers not only succession by operation of law but also testamentary (b) That should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the aforementioned
succession. We are of the opinion that the Constitutional provision which enables aliens to property and the rights which I shall set forth hereinbelow, shall be inherited
acquire private lands does not extend to testamentary succession for otherwise the and acknowledged by the children and spouse of Jorge Rabadilla.
prohibition will be for naught and meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent the xxx
prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a devise of a piece of FOURTH
land. (a)....It is also my command, in this my addition (Codicil), that should I die
This opinion notwithstanding, We uphold the usufruct in favor of Wanda because a usufruct, and Jorge Rabadilla shall have already received the ownership of the said
albeit a real right, does not vest title to the land in the usufructuary and it is the vesting of title Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of
to land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the Constitution. Title No. RT-4002 (10942), and also at the time that the lease of Balbinito G.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered Guanzon of the said lot shall expire, Jorge Rabadilla shall have the obligation
distributed as follows: until he dies, every year to give to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza,
One-half (1/2) thereof to his widow as her legitime; Seventy (75) (sic) piculs of Export sugar and Twenty Five (25) piculs of
One-half (1/2) thereof which is the free portion to Roberto and Jorge Ramirez in naked Domestic sugar, until the said Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza dies.
ownership and the usufruct to Wanda de Wrobleski with a simple substitution in favor of Juan FIFTH
Pablo Jankowski and Horace V. Ramirez. (a) Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot No. 1392
The distribution herein ordered supersedes that of the court a quo. No special of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-
pronouncement as to costs. 4002 (10492), shall have the obligation to still give yearly, the sugar as
SO ORDERED. specified in the Fourth paragraph of his testament, to Maria Marlina
Coscolluela y Belleza on the month of December of each year.
JOHNNY S. RABADILLA,[1] petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND MARIA SIXTH
MARLENA[2] COSCOLUELLA Y BELLEZA VILLACARLOS, respondents. I command, in this my addition (Codicil) that the Lot No. 1392, in the event
DECISION that the one to whom I have left and bequeathed, and his heir shall later sell,
PURISIMA, J.: lease, mortgage this said Lot, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, shall have also
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, [3] dated December the obligation to respect and deliver yearly ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of
23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555, which set aside the decision of Branch 52 of the sugar to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, on each month of December,
Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, and ordered the defendants- SEVENTY FIVE (75) piculs of Export and TWENTY FIVE (25) piculs of
appellees (including herein petitioner), as heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to reconvey Domestic, until Maria Marlina shall die, lastly should the buyer, lessee or the
title over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and interests, to the estate of Aleja mortgagee of this lot, not have respected my command in this my addition
Belleza. (Codicil), Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, shall immediately seize this
The antecedent facts are as follows: Lot No. 1392 from my heir and the latter's heirs, and shall turn it over to my
In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. near desendants, (sic) and the latter shall then have the obligation to give the
Jorge Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar until Maria Marlina shall die. I further
was instituted as a devisee of 511, 855 square meters of that parcel of land surveyed command in this my addition (Codicil) that my heir and his heirs of this Lot
as Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre. The said Codicil, which was duly probated No. 1392, that they will obey and follow that should they decide to sell, lease,
and admitted in Special Proceedings No. 4046 before the then Court of First Instance mortgage, they cannot negotiate with others than my near descendants and
of Negros Occidental, contained the following provisions: my sister."[4]
"FIRST Pursuant to the same Codicil, Lot No. 1392 was transferred to the deceased, Dr.
I give, leave and bequeath the following property owned by me to Dr. Jorge Jorge Rabadilla, and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 44498 thereto issued in his
Rabadilla resident of 141 P. Villanueva, Pasay City: name.
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife Rufina and children
Johnny (petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all surnamed Rabadilla.
18

On August 21, 1989, Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza Villacarlos brought a therein and which is as herein agreed upon, taking into consideration the
complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 5588, before Branch 52 of the Regional Trial composite price of sugar during each sugar crop year, which is in the total
Court in Bacolod City, against the above-mentioned heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to amount of ONE HUNDRED FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P105,000.00).
enforce the provisions of subject Codicil. The Complaint alleged that the defendant- That the above-mentioned amount will be paid or delivered on a staggered cash
heirs violated the conditions of the Codicil, in that: installment, payable on or before the end of December of every sugar crop year, to
1. Lot No. 1392 was mortgaged to the Philippine National Bank and the wit:
Republic Planters Bank in disregard of the testatrix's specific instruction to For 1985-86, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00)
sell, lease, or mortgage only to the near descendants and sister of the Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1988-89;
testatrix. For 1986-87, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00)
2. Defendant-heirs failed to comply with their obligation to deliver one Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1989-90;
hundred (100) piculs of sugar (75 piculs export sugar and 25 piculs domestic For 1987-88, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00)
sugar) to plaintiff Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza from sugar crop years Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1990-91; and
1985 up to the filing of the complaint as mandated by the Codicil, despite For 1988-89, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY (P26,250.00)
repeated demands for compliance. Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1991-92."[5]
3. The banks failed to comply with the 6th paragraph of the Codicil which However, there was no compliance with the aforesaid Memorandum of Agreement
provided that in case of the sale, lease, or mortgage of the property, the except for a partial delivery of 50.80 piculs of sugar corresponding to sugar crop year
buyer, lessee, or mortgagee shall likewise have the obligation to deliver 100 1988 -1989.
piculs of sugar per crop year to herein private respondent. On July 22, 1991, the Regional Trial Court came out with a decision, dismissing the
The plaintiff then prayed that judgment be rendered ordering defendant-heirs to complaint and disposing as follows:
reconvey/return-Lot No. 1392 to the surviving heirs of the late Aleja Belleza, the "WHEREFORE, in the light of the aforegoing findings, the Court finds that the
cancellation of TCT No. 44498 in the name of the deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and action is prematurely filed as no cause of action against the defendants has
the issuance of a new certificate of title in the names of the surviving heirs of the late as yet arose in favor of plaintiff. While there maybe the non-performance of
Aleja Belleza. the command as mandated exaction from them simply because they are the
On February 26, 1990, the defendant-heirs were declared in default but on March 28, children of Jorge Rabadilla, the title holder/owner of the lot in question, does
1990 the Order of Default was lifted, with respect to defendant Johnny S. Rabadilla, not warrant the filing of the present complaint. The remedy at bar must fall.
who filed his Answer, accordingly. Incidentally, being in the category as creditor of the left estate, it is opined
During the pre-trial, the parties admitted that: that plaintiff may initiate the intestate proceedings, if only to establish the
On November 15, 1998, the plaintiff (private respondent) and a certain Alan Azurin, heirs of Jorge Rabadilla and in order to give full meaning and semblance to
son-in-law of the herein petitioner who was lessee of the property and acting as her claim under the Codicil.
attorney-in-fact of defendant-heirs, arrived at an amicable settlement and entered into In the light of the aforegoing findings, the Complaint being prematurely filed
a Memorandum of Agreement on the obligation to deliver one hundred piculs of is DISMISSED without prejudice.
sugar, to the following effect: SO ORDERED."[6]
"That for crop year 1988-89, the annuity mentioned in Entry No. 49074 of On appeal by plaintiff, the First Division of the Court of Appeals reversed the decision
TCT No. 44489 will be delivered not later than January of 1989, more of the trial court; ratiocinating and ordering thus:
specifically, to wit: "Therefore, the evidence on record having established plaintiff-appellant's
75 piculs of 'A' sugar, and 25 piculs of 'B' sugar, or then right to receive 100 piculs of sugar annually out of the produce of Lot No.
existing in any of our names, Mary Rose Rabadilla y Azurin 1392; defendants-appellee's obligation under Aleja Belleza's codicil, as heirs
or Alan Azurin, during December of each sugar crop year, in of the modal heir, Jorge Rabadilla, to deliver such amount of sugar to
Azucar Sugar Central; and, this is considered compliance of plaintiff-appellant; defendants-appellee's admitted non-compliance with said
the annuity as mentioned, and in the same manner will obligation since 1985; and, the punitive consequences enjoined by both the
compliance of the annuity be in the next succeeding crop codicil and the Civil Code, of seizure of Lot No. 1392 and its reversion to the
years. estate of Aleja Belleza in case of such non-compliance, this Court deems it
That the annuity above stated for crop year 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88, proper to order the reconveyance of title over Lot No. 1392 from the estates
will be complied in cash equivalent of the number of piculs as mentioned of Jorge Rabadilla to the estate of Aleja Belleza. However, plaintiff-appellant
19

must institute separate proceedings to re-open Aleja Belleza's estate, secure instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, succeeded the latter by operation of law, without
the appointment of an administrator, and distribute Lot No. 1392 to Aleja need of further proceedings, and the successional rights were transmitted to them
Belleza's legal heirs in order to enforce her right, reserved to her by the from the moment of death of the decedent, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla.
codicil, to receive her legacy of 100 piculs of sugar per year out of the Under Article 776 of the New Civil Code, inheritance includes all the property, rights
produce of Lot No. 1392 until she dies. and obligations of a person, not extinguished by his death. Conformably, whatever
Accordingly, the decision appealed from is SET ASIDE and another one rights Dr. Jorge Rabadilla had by virtue of subject Codicil were transmitted to his
entered ordering defendants-appellees, as heirs of Jorge Rabadilla, to forced heirs, at the time of his death. And since obligations not extinguished by death
reconvey title over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and interests, to the also form part of the estate of the decedent; corollarily, the obligations imposed by
estate of Aleja Belleza. the Codicil on the deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were likewise transmitted to his
SO ORDERED."[7] compulsory heirs upon his death.
Dissatisfied with the aforesaid disposition by the Court of Appeals, petitioner found In the said Codicil, testatrix Aleja Belleza devised Lot No. 1392 to Dr. Jorge
his way to this Court via the present petition, contending that the Court of Appeals Rabadilla, subject to the condition that the usufruct thereof would be delivered to the
erred in ordering the reversion of Lot 1392 to the estate of the testatrix Aleja Belleza herein private respondent every year. Upon the death of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his
on the basis of paragraph 6 of the Codicil, and in ruling that the testamentary compulsory heirs succeeded to his rights and title over the said property, and they
institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla is a modal institution within the purview of Article also assumed his (decedent's) obligation to deliver the fruits of the lot involved to
882 of the New Civil Code. herein private respondent. Such obligation of the instituted heir reciprocally
The petition is not impressed with merit. corresponds to the right of private respondent over the usufruct, the fulfillment or
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in resolving the appeal in performance of which is now being demanded by the latter through the institution of
accordance with Article 882 of the New Civil Code on modal institutions and in the case at bar. Therefore, private respondent has a cause of action against
deviating from the sole issue raised which is the absence or prematurity of the cause petitioner and the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint below.
of action. Petitioner maintains that Article 882 does not find application as there was Petitioner also theorizes that Article 882 of the New Civil Code on modal institutions
no modal institution and the testatrix intended a mere simple substitution - i.e. the is not applicable because what the testatrix intended was a substitution - Dr. Jorge
instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, was to be substituted by the testatrix's "near Rabadilla was to be substituted by the testatrix's near descendants should there be
descendants" should the obligation to deliver the fruits to herein private respondent noncompliance with the obligation to deliver the piculs of sugar to private respondent.
be not complied with. And since the testatrix died single and without issue, there can Again, the contention is without merit.
be no valid substitution and such testamentary provision cannot be given any effect. Substitution is the designation by the testator of a person or persons to take the place
The petitioner theorizes further that there can be no valid substitution for the reason of the heir or heirs first instituted. Under substitutions in general, the testator may
that the substituted heirs are not definite, as the substituted heirs are merely referred either (1) provide for the designation of another heir to whom the property shall pass
to as "near descendants" without a definite identity or reference as to who are the in case the original heir should die before him/her, renounce the inheritance or be
"near descendants" and therefore, under Articles 843[8] and 845[9] of the New Civil incapacitated to inherit, as in a simple substitution,[12] or (2) leave his/her property to
Code, the substitution should be deemed as not written. one person with the express charge that it be transmitted subsequently to another or
The contentions of petitioner are untenable. Contrary to his supposition that the Court others, as in a fideicommissary substitution.[13] The Codicil sued upon contemplates
of Appeals deviated from the issue posed before it, which was the propriety of the neither of the two.
dismissal of the complaint on the ground of prematurity of cause of action, there was In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in default of the first heir
no such deviation. The Court of Appeals found that the private respondent had a by reason of incapacity, predecease or renunciation.[14] In the case under
cause of action against the petitioner. The disquisition made on modal institution was, consideration, the provisions of subject Codicil do not provide that should Dr. Jorge
precisely, to stress that the private respondent had a legally demandable right Rabadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the testatrix's near
against the petitioner pursuant to subject Codicil; on which issue the Court of Appeals descendants would substitute him. What the Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge
ruled in accordance with law. Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil, the property
It is a general rule under the law on succession that successional rights are referred to shall be seized and turned over to the testatrix's near descendants.
transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent[10] and compulsory heirs are Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution here and on this point, petitioner is
called to succeed by operation of law. The legitimate children and descendants, in correct. In a fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is strictly mandated to
relation to their legitimate parents, and the widow or widower, are compulsory preserve the property and to transmit the same later to the second heir.[15] In the
heirs.[11] Thus, the petitioner, his mother and sisters, as compulsory heirs of the case under consideration, the instituted heir is in fact allowed under the Codicil to
20

alienate the property provided the negotiation is with the near descendants or the heir and his successors-in-interest to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar to the
sister of the testatrix. Thus, a very important element of a fideicommissary herein private respondent, Marlena Coscolluela Belleza, during the lifetime of the
substitution is lacking; the obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir the latter. However, the testatrix did not make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla's inheritance and the
preservation of the property and its transmission to the second heir. "Without this effectivity of his institution as a devisee, dependent on the performance of the said
obligation to preserve clearly imposed by the testator in his will, there is no obligation. It is clear, though, that should the obligation be not complied with, the
fideicommissary substitution."[16] Also, the near descendants' right to inherit from the property shall be turned over to the testatrix's near descendants. The manner of
testatrix is not definite. The property will only pass to them should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is evidently modal in nature
or his heirs not fulfill the obligation to deliver part of the usufruct to private because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir without, however, affecting the
respondent. efficacy of such institution.
Another important element of a fideicommissary substitution is also missing here. Then too, since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of liberality, an
Under Article 863, the second heir or the fideicommissary to whom the property is obligation imposed upon the heir should not be considered a condition unless it
transmitted must not be beyond one degree from the first heir or the fiduciary. A clearly appears from the Will itself that such was the intention of the testator. In case
fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if the first heir is not related by first of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal and not conditional. [22]
degree to the second heir.[17] In the case under scrutiny, the near descendants are Neither is there tenability in the other contention of petitioner that the private
not at all related to the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. respondent has only a right of usufruct but not the right to seize the property itself
The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla from the instituted heir because the right to seize was expressly limited to violations
under subject Codicil is in the nature of a modal institution and therefore, Article 882 by the buyer, lessee or mortgagee.
of the New Civil Code is the provision of law in point. Articles 882 and 883 of the New In the interpretation of Wills, when an uncertainty arises on the face of the Will, as to
Civil Code provide: the application of any of its provisions, the testator's intention is to be ascertained
Art. 882. The statement of the object of the institution or the application of the from the words of the Will, taking into consideration the circumstances under which it
property left by the testator, or the charge imposed on him, shall not be was made.[23] Such construction as will sustain and uphold the Will in all its parts
considered as a condition unless it appears that such was his intention. must be adopted.[24]
That which has been left in this manner may be claimed at once provided Subject Codicil provides that the instituted heir is under obligation to deliver One
that the instituted heir or his heirs give security for compliance with the Hundred (100) piculs of sugar yearly to Marlena Belleza Coscuella. Such obligation is
wishes of the testator and for the return of anything he or they may receive, imposed on the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his heirs, and their buyer, lessee,
together with its fruits and interests, if he or they should disregard this or mortgagee should they sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise negotiate the property
obligation. involved. The Codicil further provides that in the event that the obligation to deliver
Art. 883. When without the fault of the heir, an institution referred to in the the sugar is not respected, Marlena Belleza Coscuella shall seize the property and
preceding article cannot take effect in the exact manner stated by the turn it over to the testatrix's near descendants. The non-performance of the said
testator, it shall be complied with in a manner most analogous to and in obligation is thus with the sanction of seizure of the property and reversion thereof to
conformity with his wishes. the testatrix's near descendants. Since the said obligation is clearly imposed by the
The institution of an heir in the manner prescribed in Article 882 is what is known in testatrix, not only on the instituted heir but also on his successors-in-interest, the
the law of succession as an institucion sub modo or a modal institution. In a modal sanction imposed by the testatrix in case of non-fulfillment of said obligation should
institution, the testator states (1) the object of the institution, (2) the purpose or equally apply to the instituted heir and his successors-in-interest.
application of the property left by the testator, or (3) the charge imposed by the Similarly unsustainable is petitioner's submission that by virtue of the amicable
testator upon the heir.[18] A "mode" imposes an obligation upon the heir or legatee but settlement, the said obligation imposed by the Codicil has been assumed by the
it does not affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession.[19] On the other hand, in lessee, and whatever obligation petitioner had become the obligation of the lessee;
a conditional testamentary disposition, the condition must happen or be fulfilled in that petitioner is deemed to have made a substantial and constructive compliance of
order for the heir to be entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but his obligation through the consummated settlement between the lessee and the
does not obligate; and the mode obligates but does not suspend.[20] To some extent, private respondent, and having consummated a settlement with the petitioner, the
it is similar to a resolutory condition.[21] recourse of the private respondent is the fulfillment of the obligation under the
From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon, it can be gleaned unerringly that the amicable settlement and not the seizure of subject property.
testatrix intended that subject property be inherited by Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. It is Suffice it to state that a Will is a personal, solemn, revocable and free act by which a
likewise clearly worded that the testatrix imposed an obligation on the said instituted person disposes of his property, to take effect after his death.[25] Since the Will
21

expresses the manner in which a person intends how his properties be disposed, the a favor de mi esposa, en el momento que podre tener la dicha de contrar con hijo y
wishes and desires of the testator must be strictly followed. Thus, a Will cannot be hijos legitimos o legitimados, pues estos, conforme a ley seran mis herederos.
the subject of a compromise agreement which would thereby defeat the very purpose Don Nicolas Villaflor died on March 3, 1922, without begetting any child with his wife Doa
of making a Will. Fausta Nepomuceno. The latter, already a widow, thereupon instituted Special Proceeding
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the decision of the Court of No. 203 of the Court of First Instance of Zambales, for the settlement of her husband's estate
Appeals, dated December 23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555 AFFIRMED. No and in that proceeding, she was appointed judicial administratrix. In due course of
pronouncement as to costs administration, she submitted a project of partition, now Exhibit "E". In the order of November
SO ORDERED. 24, 1924, now exhibit "C", the probate court approved the project of partition and declared the
LEONOR VILLAFLOR VDA. DE VILLANUEVA, plaintiff-appellant, proceeding closed. As the project of partition, Exhibit "E", now shows Doa Fausta
vs. Nepomuceno received by virtue thereof the ownership and possession of a considerable
DELFIN N. JUICO, in his capacity as Judicial Administrator of the testate estate of amount of real and personal estate. By virtue also of the said project of partition, she received
FAUSTA NEPOMUCENO,defendant-appellee. the use and possession of all the real and personal properties mentioned and referred to in
Amado G. Salazar for plaintiff-appellant. Clause 7th of the will. The order approving the project of partition (Exh. "C"), however,
Sycip, Salazar, Luna and Associates for defendant-appellee. expressly provided that approval thereof was "sin perjuicio de lo dispuesto en la clausula 8.o
REYES, J.B.L., J.: del testamento de Nicolas Villaflor." .
Subject to this direct appeal to us on points of law is the decision of the Court of First On May 1, 1956, Doa Fausta Nepomuceno died without having contracted a second
Instance of Rizal, in its Civil Case No. Q-2809, dismissing plaintiff-appellant's complaint for marriage, and without having begotten any child with the deceased Nicolas Villaflor. Her
the recovery of certain properties that were originally owned by the plaintiff's granduncle, estate is now being settled in Special Proceeding No. Q-1563 in the lower court, with the
Nicolas Villaflor, and which he granted to his widow, Doa Fausta Nepomuceno, bequeathing defendant Delfin N. Juico as the duly appointed and qualified judicial administrator.
to her "su uso y posesion mientras viva y no se case en segundas nupcias". The plaintiff Leonor Villaflor Vda. de Villanueva is admitted to be the same Leonor Villaflor
The following facts appear of record: On October 9, 1908, Don Nicolas Villaflor, a wealthy mentioned by Don Nicolas Villaflor in his will as his "sobrina nieta Leonor Villaflor".
man of Castillejos, Zambales, executed a will in Spanish in his own handwriting, devising and Plaintiff Leonor Villaflor instituted the present action against the administrator of the estate of
bequeathing in favor of his wife, Dona Fausta Nepomuceno, one-half of all his real and the widow Fausta Nepomuceno, on February 8, 1958, contending that upon the widow's
personal properties, giving the other half to his brother Don Fausto Villaflor. death, said plaintiff became vested with the ownership of the real and personal properties
Clause 6th, containing the institution of heirs, reads as follows: . bequeathed by the late Nicolas Villaflor to clause 7 of his will, pursuant to its eight (8th)
SEXTO En virtud de las facultades que me conceden las leyes, instituyo per mis clause. Defendant's position, adopted by the trial court, is that the title to the properties
unicos y universales herederos de todos mis derechos y acciones a mi hermano D. aforesaid became absolutely vested in the widow upon her death, on account of the fact that
Fausto Villaflor y a mi esposa Da. Fausta Nepomuceno para que partan todos mis she never remarried.
bienes que me pertenescan, en iguales partes, para despues de mi muerte, We agree with appellant that the plain desire and intent of the testator, as manifested in
exceptuando las donaciones y legados que, abajo mi mas expontanea voluntad, lo clause 8 of his testament, was to invest his widow with only a usufruct or life tenure in the
hago en la forma siguiente: . properties described in the seventh clause, subject to the further condition (admitted by the
SEPTIMO: Lego para dispues de mi muerte a mi esposa Da. Fausta appellee) that if the widow remarried, her rights would thereupon cease, even during her own
Nepomuceno, en prueba de mi amor y carino, los bienes, alhajas y muebles que a lifetime. That the widow was meant to have no more than a life interest in those properties,
continuacion se expresan; . even if she did not remarry at all, is evident from the expressions used by the deceased "uso
OCTAVO: Que estos legades disfrutaria mi referida esposa Da. Fausta y posesion mientras viva" (use and possession while alive) in which the first half of the
Nepomuceno su uso y posesion mientras viva y no se case en segundas nupcias, de phrase "uso y posesion" instead of "dominio" or "propiedad") reinforces the second ("mientras
la contrario, pasara a ser propiedad estos dichos legados de mi sobrina nieta Leonor viva"). The testator plainly did not give his widow the full ownership of these particular
Villaflor. properties, but only the right to their possession and use (or enjoyment) during her lifetime.
The 12th clause of the will provided, however, that Clauses 6th and 7th thereof would be This is in contrast with the remainder of the estate in which she was instituted universal heir
deemed annulled from the moment he bore any child with Doa Fausta Nepomuceno. Said together with the testator's brother (clause 6). 1wph1.t
Clause 12th reads as follows: . SEXTO: En virtud de las facultades que me conceden las leyes, instituyo por mis
DUODECIMO: Quedan anulados las parrafos 6.0 y 7.0 de este testamento que unicos y universales herederos de todos mis derechos y acciones a mi hermano D.
tratan de institucion de herederos y los legados que se haran despues de mi muerte Fausto Villaflor y a mi esposa Da. Fausta Nepomuceno para que parten todos mis
bienes que me pertenescan, en iguales partes, para despues de mi muerte,
22

exceptuando las donaciones y legados que, abajo mi mas expontanea voluntad, lo The American decisions invoked by appellee in his brief inapplicable, because they involve
hago en la forma siguiente. cases where the only condition imposed on the legatee was that she should remain a widow.
The court below, in holding that the appellant Leonor Villaflor, as reversionary legatee, could As already shown, the testament of Don Nicolas Villaflor clearly and unmistakably provided
succeed to the properties bequeathed by clause 7 of the testament only in the event that the that his widow should have the possession and use of the legacies while alive and did not
widow remarried, has unwarrantedly discarded the expression "mientras viva," and remarry. It necessarily follows that by the express provisions of the 8th clause of his will, the
considered the words "uso y posesion" as equivalent to "dominio" (ownership). In so doing, legacies should pass to the testator's "sobrinanieta", appellant herein, upon the widow's
the trial court violated Article 791 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, as well as section 59 of death, even if the widow never remarried in her lifetime. Consequently, the widow had no
Rule 123 of the Rules of Court. right to retain or dispose of the aforesaid properties, and her estate is accountable to the
ART. 791. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every reversionary legatee for their return, unless they had been lost due to fortuitous event, or for
expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions their value should rights of innocent third parties have intervened.
inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that one is to be preferred which PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision appealed from is reversed, and the appellant
will prevent intestacy." . Leonor Villaflor Vda. de VILLANUEVA is declared entitled to the ownership and fruits of the
SEC. 59. Instrument construed so as to give effect to all provisions. In the properties described in clause 7 of the will or testament, from the date of the death of Doa
construction of an instrument where there are several provisions or particulars, such Fausta Nepomuceno. The records are ordered remanded to the court of origin for liquidation,
a construction is, if possible, to be adopted as will give effect to all." . accounting and further proceedings conformably to this decision. Costs against the
Speculation as to the motives of the testator in imposing the conditions contained in clause 7 Administrator-appellee.
of his testament should not be allowed to obscure the clear and unambiguous meaning of his
plain words, which are over the primary source in ascertaining his intent. It is well to note that Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, petitioner-appellee,
if the testator had intended to impose as sole condition the non-remarriage of his widow, the vs.
words "uso y posesion mientras viva" would have been unnecessary, since the widow could ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant.
only remarry during her own lifetime. Ross, Lawrence and Selph for appellant.
The Civil Code, in Article 790, p. 1 (Article 675 of the Code of 1889), expressly enjoins the Camus and Delgado for appellee.
following: .
ART. 790. The words of a will are to be taken in their ordinary and grammatical
sense, unless a clear intention to use them in another sense can be gathered, and ROMUALDEZ, J.:
that other can be ascertained." . The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case.
Technical words in a will are to be taken in their technical sense, unless the context The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the
clearly indicates a contrary intention, or unless it satisfactorily appears that the will brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it.
was drawn solely by the testator, and that he was unacquainted with such technical The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are:
sense. (675a) (1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance;
In consonance with this rule, this Supreme Court has laid the doctrine in In re Estate of (3) the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the
Calderon, 26 Phil., 233, that the intention and wishes of the testator, when clearly expressed approval of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business and the deed
in his will, constitute the fixed law of interpretation, and all questions raised at the trial, of transfer of said business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to
relative to its execution and fulfillment, must be settled in accordance therewith, following the this cause, and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the
plain and literal meaning of the testator's words, unless it clearly appears that his intention delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions
was otherwise. The same rule is adopted by the Supreme Court of Spain (TS. Sent. 20 requested in reference to the Turkish laws.
Marzo 1918; 28 Mayo 1918; 30 Abril 1913; 16 Enero 1915; 23 Oct. 1925). The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect
La voluntad del testador, clara, precisa y constantemente expresada al ordenar su the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in accordance with the laws of his
ultimo voluntad, es ley unica, imperativa y obligatoria que han de obedecer y cumplir Turkish nationality, for which reason they are void as being in violation or article 10 of the
fieldmente albaceas, legatarios y heredera, hoy sus sucesores, sin que esa voluntad Civil Code which, among other things, provides the following:
patente, que no ha menester de interpretaciones, pues no ofrece la menor duda, Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of
pueda sustituirse, pues no ofrece la menor duda, pueda sustituirse por ningun otro succession as well as to the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic
criterio de alguna de los interesados, ni tampoco por el judicial. (Tribunal Supremo of validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
Spain, Sent. 20 March 1918) .
23

succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property or the country And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law
in which it may be situated. when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such national law of the testator
But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary dispositions are not in is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions.
accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten,
what the Turkish laws are on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they and the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and
are presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of effective even as to the herein oppositor.
Customs, 36 Phil., 472.) It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern
It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, it, and to the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law.
acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to present evidence on this All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly
point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the court in not having deferred the approval valid and effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national
of the scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the law.
Turkish laws on the matter. Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this
The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of
an error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor the legatees, and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved
was granted ample opportunity to introduce competent evidence, we find no abuse of in all other respects, without any pronouncement as to costs.
discretion on the part of the court in this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the So ordered.
record that the national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary TESTACY OF MAXIMA SANTOS VDA. DE BLAS. ROSALINA SANTOS
dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must be complied with (Executrix), petitioner and appellee,
and executed. lawphil.net vs.
Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous. FLORA BLAS DE BUENAVENTURA (Legatee), oppositor and appellant.
In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein Vicente J. Francisco for oppositor and appellant.
appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated as such in will, it J.T. de los Santos and R.M. Caluag for petitioner and appellee.
must be taken into consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second
clause of the will, which says:
Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish citizen, this BENGZON, J.P., J.:
citizenship having been conferred upon me by conquest and not by free choice, nor This is an appeal from two orders of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Special
by nationality and, on the other hand, having resided for a considerable length of time Proceedings No. 2524 regarding the testacy of the deceased Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas.
in the Philippine Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now On October 22, 1956, Rosalina Santos filed a petition with the Court of First Instance of Rizal
possess, it is my wish that the distribution of my property and everything in for the probate of the last will allegedly executed on September 22, 1956 by the deceased
connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas. 1 The nearest of kin of the deceased were her brothers and a
force in the Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, sister, nephews and nieces. Rosalinda Santos, petitioner-appellee herein, is one of said
otherwise, I annul and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will nieces. Among the legatees or more accurately, devisees mentioned in the will is Flora
favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this request. Blas de Buenaventura. She is not related by blood to the deceased.
The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that the instituted Flora Blas de Buenaventura and Justo Garcia filed on November 28, 1956 an opposition to
legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his property, not in accordance with the the probate of said will.
laws of his nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. Among the grounds for the opposition of Flora Blas and Justo Garcia were that the will was
If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to comply with it, not executed in accordance with law; that undue and improper pressure was exerted upon
as the herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the testatrix Maxima Santos in the execution thereof; that the signature of Maxima was
the testator, as expressed, is prevented from receiving his legacy. secured through fraud; and that at the time of the execution of the will Maxima was mentally
The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for article 792 of incapable of making a will.2
the civil Code provides the following: After the probate court had received the evidence for both the petitioner and oppositors, but
Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered before the latter could close their evidence, Flora Blas on November 6, 1957 filed a
as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, manifestation that she is withdrawing her opposition to the probate of the will, quoted as
even should the testator otherwise provide. follows:
24

Oppositor FLORA BLAS BUENAVENTURA, assisted by her counsel, unto this This appeal raises two issues: (1) Did Flora's actuations, under the facts and circumstances
Honorable Court respectfully manifests: herein, amount to a violation of the "no-contest and forfeiture" clause of the will; and (2) Is the
1. That she is hereby withdrawing her opposition to the petition for the probate of the "no-contest and forfeiture" provision of the will valid?
will of the deceased Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas; Anent the second issue, the parties herein, relying mostly upon Spanish and Anglo-American
2. That being a legatee named in the will, to protect and preserve her rights and authorities, advance conflicting theories. Petitioner-appellee argues that the "no-contest and
interests, she hereby makes of record that she is joining the proponent of said will for forfeiture" clause is a valid, legal and efficacious testamentary condition. Against this position,
the legalization of the same. however, the devisee-appellant maintains that such provision in a will is null and void
Some circumstances leading to said withdrawal may be noted. Flora had to sell her house for because it is contrary to public policy.
P5,000 to pay for stenographic notes of this case. Rosalina Santos thereafter gave a party at It is, however, the first issue that We will now discuss. For this purpose, the point to
the Manila Hotel, aimed at settling the case amicably. And there Atty. Jose T. de los Santos determine initially is whether or not appellant's filing of her opposition was justified under the
appellee's lawyer took Flora aside and told her that he learned she had sold her house, particular circumstances of the case; and then, whether or not a timely withdrawal of said
that it was a foolish thing to have done, and that for her sake and her children's, she should opposition had precluded violation of the "no contest and forfeiture clause"
withdraw her opposition and receive her legacy, so that from its rent she could start a The court a quo's conclusion is that "there is no justification for her to oppose or contest the
business. probate of said will" because "from the evidence given by her and by her witnesses during the
The proceedings continued however as to the opposition of Justo Garcia. pendency of the probate of the will ..., it appears that Flora Blas was aware of the true facts
On December 24, 1957, the court below issued an order allowing the probate of the will. After surrounding the execution of the will and of the mental state of mind of the said testatrix at
the order had become final and executory, Flora Blas on February 27, 1958, filed a petition the time of the execution of the will in question, and yet she has charge her benefactor, the
praying for the delivery to her of a fishpond as a specific devise in her favor under Item No. 3, late Maxima Santos, as not enjoying sound mind when the latter executed her will on
Clause No. 6, of the will. To this petition, inspite of apparent understanding, Rosalina Santos September 22, 1956", and that "there is no proof to show that the said Flora Blas was in any
filed an opposition predicated on the ground that said specific devise in favor of Flora was manner related by blood to Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas so that her contest of the said will
forfeited in favor of the other residuary heirs, pursuant to a provision of the will that should cannot benefit her."4
any of the heirs, devisees or legatees contest or oppose its probate, the latter shall lose his or We disagree with the above conclusion of the lower court, which is not the inference borne
her right to receive any inheritance or benefit under it, which shall be forfeited in favor of the out by the facts and the evidence both testimonial and documentary adduced in the
other heirs, devisees and legatees. case.
The pertinent provisions of the will, translated into English from Tagalog, reads as follows: Appellant knew about the existence of another will executed earlier in 1953 in which she
Fourteenth.I request all my heirs, devisees and legatees to look after each other, stood to receive more much more than what is devised to her in the 1956 will.5 Since
love and help one another and accept with thanks what I have bequeathed to them, 1953 up to the death of the testatrix, appellant did not fall out of the good graces of the
and treasure, love and cherish the same. Any one of them who contests or opposes deceased. Their relationship stayed as close as ever. She did not give any cause to alienate
the probate of my will or the carrying out of its provisions shall lose any right to the deceased's affections. Why, then, the supposed change of heart?
receive any inheritance or benefit under my will, and their inheritance or share shall She was addressed as Flora Buendia in the will, 6 yet she has been using the name Flora
pertain to the other heirs who have not opposed.3 Blas as far as she could remember, apparently with the knowledge and consent of the
This is known in Anglo-American jurisdiction as the "no contest and forfeiture" clause of a deceased. This is supported by her school records from grade school up to first year
will. 1awphl.nt pharmacy. Admittedly, it was the deceased who reared and spent for the education of the
In its order of April 30, 1958, the court a quo sustained the theory that the "no-contest and appellant, and therefore she must have known that the latter was using the family name Blas.
forfeiture" clause of the will was valid and had the effect of depriving Flora of her devise in If, indeed, the testatrix was not agreeable to such an arrangement why did she not take steps
view of her previous opposition to its probate, which it held not justified under the to correct the same? We can only conclude that appellant's use of the family name Blas was
circumstances. Accordingly, it denied the motion for delivery of the specific devise, declaring with the acquiescence of the testatrix. Why should she change her mind after all the years
the same forfeited in favor of the other residuary heirs. Flora's motion for reconsideration, and speak of appellant in her will as Flora Buendia instead of Flora Blas?
superseded by a subsequent amended motion to the same effect, was denied by the probate There was also the coincidence that the three attesting witnesses to the will, all brothers, are
court in its order dated March 7, 1959. likewise the lawyers of the executrix (who will receive the biggest single share under the will)
From the foregoing two orders of the trial court, Flora Blas interposed an appeal to the Court and compadres of the assistant executrix, while the notary public is also a compadre of one
of Appeals. Said Court, in its resolution of March 25, 1964, certified the appeal to Us as of the attesting brothers-lawyers.
calling for determination of questions purely of law. Furthermore, the nurse who attended to the deceased on September 22, 1956 the date
when the will was supposedly typed and signed by that testatrix in her room at the Manila
25

Doctors Hospital told the appellant that there was no one inside the testatrix's room when The most that can be said, if at all, is that Flora Blas' actuations were also impelled by some
she went to administer medications to the old woman at the precise time when the attesting desire to gain. But who among the heirs can assume a posture of innocence and cast the first
witnesses and the notary public testified they were inside the said room. The nurse admitted stone? None of them can safely claim that he is not thus similarly motivated.
this likewise under oath (Tsn., June 10, 1957, p. 23). From the foregoing premises it cannot be said that Flora's actuations impaired the true
But the most important single factor that should engender reasonable doubt as to the intention of the testatrix in regard to the "no-contest and forfeiture" clause of the will. Flora's
physical and mental capacity of a person to execute a will, was the condition of Maxima Blas act of withdrawing her opposition before she had rested her case contributed to the speedy
as gleaned from the records of the case. She was an old woman more than 86 years old who probation of the will. Since the withdrawal came before Flora had rested her case, it
suffered from various ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, catarrh of the eyes, jaundice, precluded the defeat of the probate upon the strength of Flora's evidence. Through said
cirrhosis of the liver, anemia, edema of the lower legs and fracture in the vertebrae. From withdrawal, Flora conformed to the testatrix's wish that her dispositions of her properties
August 1, 1956 to September 23, 1956 she received seven blood transfusions, as follows: under the will be carried out. It follows that, taken as a whole, Flora's actuations subserved
one on August 1; two on September 22 (the alleged date of the execution of the will), with rather than violated the testatrix's intention.
barely three hours intervening; one each on September 24, 25, 26 and 29, 1956. She was There is, therefore, no further need to discuss the second issue on the validity of a "no
also given dextrose vinoclysis on September 22, because she could not take food through contest and forfeiture" clause in this jurisdiction, since, at any rate, said clause was not
the mouth; and on September 23, 1956 she started to bleed by mouth, compelling her doctor violated in this case.
to cancel her trip to the United States scheduled for September 25, 1956. Several documents Wherefore, the appealed orders dated April 30, 1958 and March 7, 1959 are hereby
executed by her before the alleged date of execution of the will, were no longer signed but reversed, and this case is remanded to the court a quo with the instruction that appellant's
merely thumbmarked by her,7 whereas the will appealed to have been signed. devise under the will be forthwith delivered to her. No costs. So ordered.
It is difficult for Us to imagine that one situated and equally faced with the above enumerated Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro,
facts and circumstances as the appellant was, should keep her peace. She had her doubts, JJ., concur.
and to resolve them she had to conduct inquiries and investigations. Her findings all the more Regala J., took no part.
strengthened her belief that there was something untoward about the execution of the will. RESOLUTION AMENDING DECISION
Thus, in her desire to know the truth and to protect her rights, she opposed the probate of the November 29, 1966
will. BENGZON, J.P., J.:
After all, had the contest been continued and the will held invalid on any of the grounds Flora Blas de Buenaventura, oppositor-appellant, moved for reconsideration of this Court's
provided by law for the disallowance of a will, 8 she would have contributed in no small decision herein rendered on September 22, 1966. Against this motion the petitioner-appellee
measure to the cause of the truth which the courts have been in a position to apply the proper and executrix, Rosalina Santos, filed an opposition. And appellant filed a reply thereto.
legal provisions which are for the greater interests of the testatrix since all of them are Appellant-movant contends, first, that she is entitled to and should be awarded, not only the
ordained to the idea that the truth of her last thoughts may be duly assured and guaranteed. devised fishpond, but all the fruits or rents of said property from the death of the testatrix on
Above all, the factor that preponderates in favor of appellant is that, after realizing her October 5, 1956 up to the time said property will be delivered to her. Appellant, it be noted,
mistake in contesting the will a mistake committed in good faith because grounded on did not expressly seek recovery of fruits or rents in her petition for delivery of specific legacy
strong doubts she withdrew her opposition and joined the appellee in the latter's petition (devise) filed below. She started to mention also the fruits or rents in her amended motion for
for the probate of the will. She must not now be penalized for rectifying her error. After all, the reconsideration of the court a quo's denial of said petition. And, thereafter she has raised the
intentions of the testatrix had been fulfilled, her will had been admitted and allowed probate point in her third assignment of error in the present appeal.
within a reasonably short period, and the disposition of her property can now be effected. This notwithstanding, We believe that appellant should receive the fruits of the property given
It should be pointed out that, contrary to the translation accorded to Paragraph Fourteen of to her in devise. The provisions of law regarding devised proper are emphatic in stating that a
the will, the testatrix enjoins not a mere contest or opposition to its probate, but a contest or devise of a specific things includes its fruits and income accruing after the testator's death,
opposition to the probate of the will and the carrying out of its provisions. This is so because ordering that these shall be delivered with the thing devised:
the questioned clause speaks of "pagpapatibay at pag-bibigay-bisa" instead of ART. 948. If the legacy or devise is of a specific and determinate thing pertaining to
"pagpapatibay o pag-bibigay-bisa."9 This furnishes a significant index into the intention of the the testator, the legatee or devisee acquires the ownership thereof upon the death of
testatrix, namely, that she was more concerned in insuring the carrying out of her the testator, as well as any growing fruits, or unborn offspring of animals, or
testamentary provisions than in precluding any contest or opposition to it. By the withdrawal uncollected income; but not the income which was due and unpaid before the latter's
of the contest which appellant brought in good faith, no prejudice has been done into the death.
intention of the testatrix. The dispositions of her will can now be safely carried out. From the moment of the testator's death, the thing bequeathed shall be at the risk of
the legatee or devisee, who shall, therefore, bear its loss or deterioration, and shall
26

be benefited by its increase or improvement, without prejudice to the responsibility of As to the first, appellant would hereby be assailing the very basis of the right she is asserting
the executor or administrator. as devisee, for if the will was not a voluntary act of the testatrix as she would contend, the
ART. 951. The thing bequeathed shall be delivered with all its accessions and devise in question would suffer the same defect. It should be remembered also that the will
accessories and in the condition in which it may be upon the death of the testator. has already been admitted to probate, so that its due execution and authenticity, are already
(Civil Code) deemed established for purposes of this proceeding.
Furthermore, since fruits or rents are accessions (Arts. 441, 442, Civil Code), strictly As to the second alleged occasion of fraud, We have on record only the parties' allegations
speaking, there was really no need to mention them in the petition or the decision. Article and denials, and the affidavit of the devisee-claimant. Fraud being a serious charge, it is
1166 of the Civil Code applies: "The obligation to give a determinate thing includes that of difficult to see how the same can be sustained on so insufficient an evidence. And moreover,
delivering all its accessions and accessories, even though they may not have been this being a factual issue, We cannot consider the same, for this appeal is confined to
mentioned." To remove doubts on the matter, however, We here expressly state that questions purely of law. Appellant-movant's prayer for moral and exemplary damages,
appellant is also entitled to, and appellee should deliver to her, the fruits or rents of the therefore, is hereby denied.
devised fishpond accruing after the testatrix's death. The precise determination of the same, As to attorney's fees, however, this Court, considering all the circumstances; believes it
however, should be threshed out in the court below, before which appellee must render an reasonable and equitable to award under Article 2208, par. 11, of the Civil Code, P5,000 in
accounting. appellant's favor.
Appellee, in this regard, would bring up in this proceedings and at this very late stage, In view of the foregoing, the dispositive portion of the decision herein promulgated on
some new matters: that allegedly the testatrix owned only 65.38-2/3% of the property September 22, 1966 is hereby amended to read as follows:
devised, so that the fruits or rents pertaining to appellant should likewise be only 65.38-2/3%. "WHEREFORE, the appealed orders April 30, 1958 and March 7, 1959 are hereby reversed
And in support of this, appellee refers to final decisions of this Court in two other cases, L- and this case is remanded to the court a quo, with the instruction that appellant's specific
14070, "Maria Gervacio Blas, et al. v. Rosalina Santos" promulgated March 29, 1961, and L- devise under the will be forthwith delivered to her by appellee executrix, with all the fruits or
19270, "Manuel Gervacio Blas, et al. v. Hon. Cecilia Muoz-Palma, et al.," promulgated rents thereof acquired from the death of the testatrix on October 5, 1956 until its delivery, and
March 31, 1962. In said decisions, it is contended that the rulings are to the effect that the for this purpose said appellee executrix shall render an accounting to the court a quo. Lastly,
properties therein litigated belonged to Maxima Santos, the testatrix herein, only to the extent attorney's fee of P5,000 is hereby awarded in appellant's favor against appellee. No costs. So
of 65.38-2/3%, the rest being owned by her husband Simeon Blas, represented by the ordered.
plaintiffs therein. The property involved here is allegedly one of the properties litigated ELENA MORENTE, petitioner-appellant,
therein. The foregoing cannot avail appellee herein. She is not the proper party to raise it, vs.
since she represents the testatrix and not Simeon Blas or his heirs. For her to do so would in GUMERSINDO DE LA SANTA, respondent-appellee.
effect be to assert an interest adverse to that of the testatrix, even when those to whom said Agoncillo and Ilustre, for appellant.
alleged interest pertains Simeon Blas and his heirs do not advance it. Agustin Alvares, for appellee.
As to appellee's reiterated contention that appellant had violated the no contest and forfeiture
clause of the will, the same has already been sufficiently discussed and resolved in our
decision. As therein stated, due to appellant's timely withdrawal of her opposition to the WILLARD, J.:
probate of the will, it was as if there had been no opposition by her at all, as far as the The will of Consuelo Morente contains the following clauses:lawphil.net
purpose underlying the aforestated clause is concerned. 1. I hereby order that all real estate which may belong to me shall pass to my
The next argument is on appellant's claim to interest upon the fruits or rents. The rule is that husband, Gumersindo de la Santa.
interest does not run, unless stipulated, where there is yet no delay (Arts. 1169, 2209, Civil 2. That my said husband shall not leave my brothers after my death, and that he shall
Code). And in settlement proceedings, there is no delay on the part of the administratrix until not marry anyone; should my said husband have children by anyone, he shall not
after the court orders her to make delivery of the legacy or devise (Ongpin v. Rivera, 44 Phil. convey any portion of the property left by me, except the one-third part thereof and
808). In this case, the court a quo not having issued such an order, appellee has not incurred the two remaining thirds shall be and remain for my brother Vicente or his children
in delay and is thus not liable for interest. should he have any.
Appellant-movant also prays for moral and exemplary damages and would rest this claim 3. After my death I direct my husband to dwell in the camarin in which the bakery is
upon fraud allegedly committed on two different occasions: First, in the preparation of the will; located, which is one of the properties belonging to me.
and, second, during the supposed negotiation for the withdrawal of her opposition Her husband, Gumersindo de la Santa, married again within four months of the death of the
preparatory to the delivery of her devise. testatrix. Elena Morente, a sister of the deceased, filed a petition in the proceeding relating to
the probate of the will of Consuelo Morente pending in the Court of First Instance of the
27

Province of Tayabas in which she alleged the second marriage of Gumersindo de la Santa judgment of that court, denying the petition, is accordingly affirmed, with the costs of this
and asked that the legacy to him above-mentioned be annulled. Objection was made in the instance against the appellant. So ordered.
court below by the husband to the procedure followed by the petitioner. The court below, AMELIA P. ARELLANO, represented by G.R. No. 189776
however, held that the proceeding was proper and from that holding the husband did not her duly appointed guardians, AGNES P.
appeal. From the judgment of the court below, the petitioner, Elena Morente, appealed. ARELLANO and NONA P. ARELLANO, Present:
In its judgment the court denied the petition. It was said, however, in the decision, as we Petitioner,
understand it, that the husband having married, he had the right to the use of all the property CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson,
during his life and that at his death two-thirds thereof would pass to Vicente, a brother of the - versus - PERALTA,*
testatrix, and one-third thereof could be disposed of by the husband. The construction given BERSAMIN,
to the will by the court below is not accepted by the appellant. She claims that by the mere MENDOZA,** and
act of marriage the husband at once lost all rights acquired by the will. It is neither alleged nor FRANCISCO PASCUAL and MIGUEL SERENO, JJ.
proven that any children have been born to the husband since the death of the PASCUAL,
testatrix. lawphil.net Respondents.
Article 790 of the Civil Code provides that testamentary provisions may be made conditional Promulgated:
and article 793 provides that a prohibition against another marriage may in certain cases be December 15, 2010
validly imposed upon the widow or widower. But the question in this case is, Did the testatrix x--------------------------------------------------x
intend to impose a condition upon the absolute gift which is contained in the first clauses of
the will? It is to be observed that by the second clause she directs that her husband shall not DECISION
leave her sisters. It is provided in the third clause that he must continue to live in a certain
building. It is provided in the second clause that he shall not marry again. To no one of these CARPIO MORALES, J.:
orders is attached the condition that if he fails to comply with them he shall lose the legacy Angel N. Pascual Jr. died intestate on January 2, 1999 leaving as heirs his siblings,
given to him by the first clause of the will. It is nowhere expressly said that if he does leave namely: petitioner Amelia P. Arellano who is represented by her daughters [1] Agnes P.
the testatrix's sisters, or does not continue to dwell in the building mentioned in the will he Arellano (Agnes) and Nona P. Arellano, and respondents Francisco Pascual and Miguel N.
shall forfeit the property given him in the first clause; nor is it anywhere expressly said that if Pascual.[2]
he marries again he shall incur such a loss. But it is expressly provided that if one event does
happen the disposition of the property contained in the first clause of the will shall be In a petition for Judicial Settlement of Intestate Estate and Issuance of Letters of
changed. It is said that if he has children by anyone, two-thirds of that property shall pass to Administration, docketed as Special Proceeding Case No. M-5034, filed by respondents on
Vicente, the brother of the testatrix. April 28, 2000 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, respondents alleged, inter
We are bound to construe the will with reference to all the clauses contained therein, and with alia, that a parcel of land (the donated property) located in Teresa Village, Makati, which was,
reference to such surrounding circumstances as duly appear in the case, and after such by Deed of Donation, transferred by the decedent to petitioner the validity of which donation
consideration we can not say that it was the intention of the testatrix that if her husband respondents assailed, may be considered as an advance legitime of petitioner.
married again he should forfeit the legacy above mentioned. In other words, there being no
express condition attached to that legacy in reference to the second marriage, we can not Respondents nephew Victor was, as they prayed for, appointed as Administrator of the estate
say that any condition can be implied from the context of the will. In the case of Chiong Joc- by Branch 135 of the Makati RTC.[3]
Soy vs. Jaime Vano (8 Phil. Rep., 119), we held that the legacy contained in the will therein
mentioned was not conditional. It is true that case arose under article 797 of the Civil Code, Respecting the donated property, now covered in the name of petitioner by Transfer
which perhaps is not strictly applicable to this case, but we think that it may be argued from Certificate of Title No. 181889 of the Register of Deeds of Makati, which respondents
what is said in article 797 that, in order to make a testamentary provision conditional, such assailed but which they, in any event, posited that it may be considered as an advance
condition must fairly appear from the language used in the will. legitime to petitioner, the trial court, acting as probate court, held that it was precluded from
Whether the children mentioned in the second clause of the will are natural children or determining the validity of the donation.
legitimate children we do not decide, for no such question is before us, the contingency
mentioned in that part of the clause not having arisen, and we limit ourselves to saying Provisionally passing, however, upon the question of title to the donated
merely that by the subsequent marriage of the husband he did not forfeit the legacy given to property only for the purpose of determining whether it formed part of the decedents
him by the first part of the will. That was the only question before the court below. the estate,[4] the probate court found the Deed of Donation valid in light of the presumption of
28

validity of notarized documents. It thus went on to hold that it is subject to collation following e. Shares of stocks in Paper Industries Corp. covered by the
Article 1061 of the New Civil Code which reads:[5] following Certificate Numbers: S29239, S40128, S58308,
S69309, A006708, 07680, A020786, S18539, S14649;
Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs,
must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may f. share in Eduardo Pascuals shares in Baguio Gold Mining Co.;
have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of
donation, or any other gratuitous title in order that it may be computed in the g. Cash in Banco De Oro Savings Account No. 2 014 12292 4 in the
determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. name of Nona Arellano;

i. Property previously covered by TCT No. 119053 now covered


The probate court thereafter partitioned the properties of the intestate estate. Thus it by TCT No. 181889, Register of Deeds of Makati City;
disposed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered j. Rental receivables from Raul Arellano per Order issued by
declaring that: Branch 64 of the Court on November 17, 1995.

1. The property covered by TCT No. 181889 of the Register of Deeds 5. AND the properties are partitioned as follows:
of Makati as part of the estate of Angel N. Pascual;
a. To heir Amelia P. Arellano-the property covered by TCT No.
2. The property covered by TCT No. 181889 to be subject to collation; 181889;

3. 1/3 of the rental receivables due on the property at the mezzanine b. To heirs Francisco N. Pascual and Miguel N. Pascual-the real
and the 3rd floor of Unit 1110 Tanay St., Makati City form part of the properties covered by TCT Nos. 348341 and 119063 of the
estate of Angel N. Pascual; Register of Deeds of Makati City and the property covered by
OCT No. 2159, to be divided equally between them up to the
4. The following properties form part of the estate of Angel N. Pascual: extent that each of their share have been equalized with the
actual value of the property in 5(a) at the time of donation, the
a. 1/3 share in the House and Lot at 1110 Tanay St., Rizal value of which shall be determined by an independent appraiser
Village Makati TCT No. 348341 and 1/3 share in the rental to be designated by Amelia P. Arellano, Miguel N. Pascual and
income thereon; Francisco N. Pascual. If the real properties are not sufficient to
equalize the shares, then Franciscos and Miguels shares may be
b. 1/3 share in the Vacant Lot with an area of 271 square meters satisfied from either in cash property or shares of stocks, at the
located at Tanay St., Rizal Village, Makati City, TCT No. 119063; rate of quotation. The remaining properties shall be divided
equally among Francisco, Miguel and Amelia. (emphasis and
c. Agricultural land with an area of 3.8 hectares located at Puerta underscoring supplied)
Galera Mindoro covered by OCT No. P-2159;

d. Shares of stocks in San Miguel Corporation covered by the Before the Court of Appeals, petitioner faulted the trial court in holding that
following Certificate Numbers: A0011036, A006144, A082906,
A006087, A065796, A11979, A049521, C86950, C63096, I
C55316, C54824, C120328, A011026, C12865, A10439,
A021401, A007218, A0371, S29239, S40128, S58308, S69309; . . . THE PROPERTY DONATED TO APPELLANT AMELIA PASCUAL
ARELLANO IS PART OF THE ESTATE OF ANGEL PASCUAL, JR.

II
29

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is hereby


. . . THE PROPERTY DONATED TO APPELLANT IS SUBJECT TO PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision dated January 29, 2008 of the Regional
COLLATION UNDER ARTICLE 1061 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE. Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 135 in Special Proceeding Case No. M-
5034 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as the order of inclusion
of properties of the Intestate Estate of Angel N. Pascual, Jr. as well as
III the partition and distribution of the same to the co-heirs are concerned.

. . . APPELLEES WHO ARE MERELY COLLATERAL RELATIVES OF The case is hereby REMANDED to the said court for further
DECEASED ANGEL N. PASCUAL JR. AS HIS COMPULSORY proceedings in accordance with the disquisitions herein.[9] (underscoring
HEIRS ENTITLED TO LEGITIMES. supplied)

xxxx
Petitioners Partial Motion for Reconsideration[10] having been denied by the appellate
and court by Resolution[11] of October 7, 2009, the present petition for review on certiorari was
filed, ascribing as errors of the appellate court its ruling
V
I
. . . IN NOT PARTITIONING THE ESTATE OF ANGEL N. PASCUAL
JR. EQUALLY AMONG HIS LEGAL OR INTESTATE HEIRS.[6] (underscoring . . . THAT THE PROPERTY DONATED BY ANGEL N. PASCUAL, JR. TO
supplied) PETITIONER AMELIA PASCUAL ARELLANO IS PART OF HIS ESTATE AT
THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

By Decision[7] of July 20, 2009, the Court of Appeals found petitioners appeal partly II
meritorious. It sustained the probate courts ruling that the property donated to petitioner is
subject to collation in this wise: . . . THAT THE PROPERTY DONATED TO PETITIONER IS SUBJECT TO
COLLATION UNDER ARTICLE 1061 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE.
Bearing in mind that in intestate succession, what governs is the rule
on equality of division, We hold that the property subject of donation inter III
vivos in favor of Amelia is subject to collation. Amelia cannot be
considered a creditor of the decedent and we believe that under the . . . THAT RESPONDENTS ARE COMPULSORY HEIRS OF THEIR
circumstances, the value of such immovable though not strictly in the DECEASED BROTHER ANGEL N. PASCUAL JR. AND ARE ENTITLED TO
concept of advance legitime, should be deducted from her share in the net LEGITIMES.
hereditary estate. The trial court therefore committed no reversible error IV
when it included the said property as forming part of the estate of Angel N.
Pascual.[8] (citation omitted; emphasis and underscoring supplied) . . . IN NOT PARTITIONING THE ESTATE OF ANGEL N. PASCUAL,
JR. EQUALLY AMONG PETITIONER AND RESPONDENTS, AS HIS
LEGAL OR INTESTATE HEIRS.[12](underscoring supplied)
The appellate court, however, held that, contrary to the ruling of the probate court,
herein petitioner was able to submit prima facie evidence of shares of stocks owned by the
[decedent] which have not been included in the inventory submitted by the administrator. Petitioners thus raise the issues of whether the property donated to petitioner is subject to
collation; and whether the property of the estate should have been ordered equally distributed
Thus, the appellate court disposed, quoted verbatim: among the parties.

On the first issue:


30

entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following


The term collation has two distinct concepts: first, it is a mere mathematical operation articles. (underscoring supplied)
by the addition of the value of donations made by the testator to the value of the hereditary
estate; and second, it is the return to the hereditary estate of property disposed of by lucrative Art. 1004. Should the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the
title by the testator during his lifetime.[13] full blood, they shall inherit in equal shares. (emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
The purposes of collation are to secure equality among the compulsory heirs in so far
as is possible, and to determine the free portion, after finding the legitime, so that inofficious
donations may be reduced.[14] WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision ordering the
collation of the property donated to petitioner, Amelia N. Arellano, to the estate of the
Collation takes place when there are compulsory heirs, one of its purposes being to deceased Angel N. Pascual, Jr. is SET ASIDE.
determine the legitime and the free portion. If there is no compulsory heir, there is no legitime
to be safeguarded.[15] Let the records of the case be REMANDED to the court of origin, Branch 135 of the
Makati Regional Trial Court, which is ordered to conduct further proceedings in the case for
The records do not show that the decedent left any primary, secondary, or concurring the purpose of determining what finally forms part of the estate, and thereafter to divide
compulsory heirs. He was only survived by his siblings, who are his collateral relatives and, whatever remains of it equally among the parties.
therefore, are not entitled to any legitime that part of the testators property which he cannot
dispose of because the law has reserved it for compulsory heirs.[16] SO ORDERED.

The compulsory heirs may be classified into (1) primary, (2) secondary, and UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. EDMUND SANTIBAEZ and
(3) concurring. The primary compulsory heirs are those who have FLORENCE SANTIBAEZ ARIOLA, respondents.
precedence over and exclude other compulsory heirs; legitimate children and
descendants are primary compulsory heirs. The secondary compulsory heirs DECISION
are those who succeed only in the absence of the primary heirs; the
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
legitimate parents and ascendants are secondary compulsory heirs. The
concurring compulsory heirs are those who succeed together with the
primary or the secondary compulsory heirs; the illegitimate children, and the Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of
surviving spouse are concurring compulsory heirs.[17] Court which seeks the reversal of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated May 30, 2001
in CA-G.R. CV No. 48831 affirming the dismissal[2] of the petitioners complaint in Civil Case
No. 18909 by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 63.
The decedent not having left any compulsory heir who is entitled to any legitime, he The antecedent facts are as follows:
was at liberty to donate all his properties, even if nothing was left for his siblings-collateral On May 31, 1980, the First Countryside Credit Corporation (FCCC) and Efraim M.
relatives to inherit. His donation to petitioner, assuming that it was valid,[18] is deemed as Santibaez entered into a loan agreement[3] in the amount of P128,000.00. The amount was
donation made to a stranger, chargeable against the free portion of the estate. [19] There being intended for the payment of the purchase price of one (1) unit Ford 6600 Agricultural All-
no compulsory heir, however, the donated property is not subject to collation. Purpose Diesel Tractor. In view thereof, Efraim and his son, Edmund, executed a promissory
On the second issue: note in favor of the FCCC, the principal sum payable in five equal annual amortizations
of P43,745.96 due on May 31, 1981 and every May 31st thereafter up to May 31, 1985.
The decedents remaining estate should thus be partitioned equally among his heirs- On December 13, 1980, the FCCC and Efraim entered into another loan
siblings-collateral relatives, herein petitioner and respondents, pursuant to the provisions of agreement,[4] this time in the amount of P123,156.00. It was intended to pay the balance of
the Civil Code, viz: the purchase price of another unit of Ford 6600 Agricultural All-Purpose Diesel Tractor, with
accessories, and one (1) unit Howard Rotamotor Model AR 60K. Again, Efraim and his son,
Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate Edmund, executed a promissory note for the said amount in favor of the FCCC. Aside from
children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the such promissory note, they also signed a Continuing Guaranty Agreement [5] for the loan
dated December 13, 1980.
31

Sometime in February 1981, Efraim died, leaving a holographic will. [6] Subsequently in of the FCCC assigned to Union Savings and Mortgage Bank did not clearly refer to the
March 1981, testate proceedings commenced before the RTC of Iloilo City, Branch 7, decedents account. Ruling that the joint agreement executed by the heirs was null and void,
docketed as Special Proceedings No. 2706. On April 9, 1981, Edmund, as one of the heirs, the trial court held that the petitioners cause of action against respondent Florence S. Ariola
was appointed as the special administrator of the estate of the decedent. [7] During the must necessarily fail.
pendency of the testate proceedings, the surviving heirs, Edmund and his sister Florence The petitioner appealed from the RTC decision and elevated its case to the Court of
Santibaez Ariola, executed a Joint Agreement[8] dated July 22, 1981, wherein they agreed to Appeals (CA), assigning the following as errors of the trial court:
divide between themselves and take possession of the three (3) tractors; that is, two (2)
tractors for Edmund and one (1) tractor for Florence. Each of them was to assume the 1. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE JOINT AGREEMENT
indebtedness of their late father to FCCC, corresponding to the tractor respectively taken by (EXHIBIT A) SHOULD BE APPROVED BY THE PROBATE COURT.
them. 2. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE CAN BE NO VALID
On August 20, 1981, a Deed of Assignment with Assumption of Liabilities [9] was PARTITION AMONG THE HEIRS UNTIL AFTER THE WILL HAS BEEN
executed by and between FCCC and Union Savings and Mortgage Bank, wherein the FCCC PROBATED.
as the assignor, among others, assigned all its assets and liabilities to Union Savings and 3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE DEFENDANT HAD
Mortgage Bank. WAIVED HER RIGHT TO HAVE THE CLAIM RE-LITIGATED IN THE ESTATE
Demand letters[10] for the settlement of his account were sent by petitioner Union Bank of PROCEEDING.[16]
the Philippines (UBP) to Edmund, but the latter failed to heed the same and refused to pay. The petitioner asserted before the CA that the obligation of the deceased had passed to
Thus, on February 5, 1988, the petitioner filed a Complaint[11] for sum of money against the his legitimate children and heirs, in this case, Edmund and Florence; the unconditional
heirs of Efraim Santibaez, Edmund and Florence, before the RTC of Makati City, Branch 150, signing of the joint agreement marked as Exhibit A estopped respondent Florence S. Ariola,
docketed as Civil Case No. 18909. Summonses were issued against both, but the one and that she cannot deny her liability under the said document; as the agreement had been
intended for Edmund was not served since he was in the United States and there was no signed by both heirs in their personal capacity, it was no longer necessary to present the
information on his address or the date of his return to the Philippines. [12] Accordingly, the same before the probate court for approval; the property partitioned in the agreement was not
complaint was narrowed down to respondent Florence S. Ariola. one of those enumerated in the holographic will made by the deceased; and the active
On December 7, 1988, respondent Florence S. Ariola filed her Answer [13] and alleged participation of the heirs, particularly respondent Florence S. Ariola, in the present ordinary
that the loan documents did not bind her since she was not a party thereto. Considering that civil action was tantamount to a waiver to re-litigate the claim in the estate proceedings.
the joint agreement signed by her and her brother Edmund was not approved by the probate On the other hand, respondent Florence S. Ariola maintained that the money claim of
court, it was null and void; hence, she was not liable to the petitioner under the joint the petitioner should have been presented before the probate court.[17]
agreement. The appellate court found that the appeal was not meritorious and held that the
On January 29, 1990, the case was unloaded and re-raffled to the RTC of Makati City, petitioner should have filed its claim with the probate court as provided under Sections 1 and
Branch 63.[14] Consequently, trial on the merits ensued and a decision was subsequently 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. It further held that the partition made in the agreement was
rendered by the court dismissing the complaint for lack of merit. The decretal portion of the null and void, since no valid partition may be had until after the will has been probated.
RTC decision reads: According to the CA, page 2, paragraph (e) of the holographic will covered the subject
properties (tractors) in generic terms when the deceased referred to them as all other
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the complaint for lack of merit.[15] properties. Moreover, the active participation of respondent Florence S. Ariola in the case did
not amount to a waiver. Thus, the CA affirmed the RTC decision, viz.:
The trial court found that the claim of the petitioner should have been filed with the
probate court before which the testate estate of the late Efraim Santibaez was pending, as WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
the sum of money being claimed was an obligation incurred by the said decedent. The trial Makati City, Branch 63, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
court also found that the Joint Agreement apparently executed by his heirs, Edmund and SO ORDERED.[18]
Florence, on July 22, 1981, was, in effect, a partition of the estate of the decedent. However,
the said agreement was void, considering that it had not been approved by the probate court, In the present recourse, the petitioner ascribes the following errors to the CA:
and that there can be no valid partition until after the will has been probated. The trial court
further declared that petitioner failed to prove that it was the now defunct Union Savings and I.
Mortgage Bank to which the FCCC had assigned its assets and liabilities. The court also
agreed to the contention of respondent Florence S. Ariola that the list of assets and liabilities
32

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE JOINT consideration would be equivalent to allowing the said heirs to enrich themselves to the
AGREEMENT SHOULD BE APPROVED BY THE PROBATE COURT. damage and prejudice of the petitioner.
The petitioner, likewise, avers that the decisions of both the trial and appellate courts
II. failed to consider the fact that respondent Florence S. Ariola and her brother Edmund
executed loan documents, all establishing the vinculum juris or the legal bond between the
late Efraim Santibaez and his heirs to be in the nature of a solidary obligation. Furthermore,
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE CAN BE NO VALID
the Promissory Notes dated May 31, 1980 and December 13, 1980 executed by the late
PARTITION AMONG THE HEIRS OF THE LATE EFRAIM SANTIBAEZ UNTIL AFTER THE
Efraim Santibaez, together with his heirs, Edmund and respondent Florence, made the
WILL HAS BEEN PROBATED.
obligation solidary as far as the said heirs are concerned. The petitioner also proffers that,
considering the express provisions of the continuing guaranty agreement and the promissory
III. notes executed by the named respondents, the latter must be held liable jointly and severally
liable thereon. Thus, there was no need for the petitioner to file its money claim before the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD probate court. Finally, the petitioner stresses that both surviving heirs are being sued in their
WAIVED HER RIGHT TO HAVE THE CLAIM RE-LITIGATED IN THE ESTATE respective personal capacities, not as heirs of the deceased.
PROCEEDING. In her comment to the petition, respondent Florence S. Ariola maintains that the
petitioner is trying to recover a sum of money from the deceased Efraim Santibaez; thus the
IV. claim should have been filed with the probate court. She points out that at the time of the
execution of the joint agreement there was already an existing probate proceedings of which
RESPONDENTS CAN, IN FACT, BE HELD JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE the petitioner knew about. However, to avoid a claim in the probate court which might delay
PRINCIPAL DEBTOR THE LATE EFRAIM SANTIBAEZ ON THE STRENGTH OF THE payment of the obligation, the petitioner opted to require them to execute the said agreement.
CONTINUING GUARANTY AGREEMENT EXECUTED IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER- According to the respondent, the trial court and the CA did not err in declaring that the
APPELLANT UNION BANK. agreement was null and void. She asserts that even if the agreement was voluntarily
executed by her and her brother Edmund, it should still have been subjected to the approval
of the court as it may prejudice the estate, the heirs or third parties. Furthermore, she had not
V.
waived any rights, as she even stated in her answer in the court a quo that the claim should
be filed with the probate court. Thus, the petitioner could not invoke or claim that she is in
THE PROMISSORY NOTES DATED MAY 31, 1980 IN THE SUM OF P128,000.00 AND estoppel.
DECEMBER 13, 1980 IN THE AMOUNT OF P123,000.00 CATEGORICALLY Respondent Florence S. Ariola further asserts that she had not signed any continuing
ESTABLISHED THE FACT THAT THE RESPONDENTS BOUND THEMSELVES JOINTLY guaranty agreement, nor was there any document presented as evidence to show that she
AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE LATE DEBTOR EFRAIM SANTIBAEZ IN FAVOR OF had caused herself to be bound by the obligation of her late father.
PETITIONER UNION BANK.[19] The petition is bereft of merit.
The Court is posed to resolve the following issues: a) whether or not the partition in the
The petitioner claims that the obligations of the deceased were transmitted to the heirs Agreement executed by the heirs is valid; b) whether or not the heirs assumption of the
as provided in Article 774 of the Civil Code; there was thus no need for the probate court to indebtedness of the deceased is valid; and c) whether the petitioner can hold the heirs liable
approve the joint agreement where the heirs partitioned the tractors owned by the deceased on the obligation of the deceased.
and assumed the obligations related thereto. Since respondent Florence S. Ariola signed the At the outset, well-settled is the rule that a probate court has the jurisdiction to determine
joint agreement without any condition, she is now estopped from asserting any position all the properties of the deceased, to determine whether they should or should not be
contrary thereto. The petitioner also points out that the holographic will of the deceased did included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered. [20] The said court is primarily
not include nor mention any of the tractors subject of the complaint, and, as such was beyond concerned with the administration, liquidation and distribution of the estate.[21]
the ambit of the said will. The active participation and resistance of respondent Florence S. In our jurisdiction, the rule is that there can be no valid partition among the heirs until
Ariola in the ordinary civil action against the petitioners claim amounts to a waiver of the right after the will has been probated:
to have the claim presented in the probate proceedings, and to allow any one of the heirs
who executed the joint agreement to escape liability to pay the value of the tractors under In testate succession, there can be no valid partition among the heirs until after the will has
been probated. The law enjoins the probate of a will and the public requires it, because
33

unless a will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole world, the right of a person to respective share under the agreement. It was made dependent on the validity of the partition,
dispose of his property by will may be rendered nugatory. The authentication of a will decides and that they were to assume the indebtedness corresponding to the chattel that they were
no other question than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance each to receive. The partition being invalid as earlier discussed, the heirs in effect did not
with those requirements or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of a will.[22] receive any such tractor. It follows then that the assumption of liability cannot be given any
force and effect.
This, of course, presupposes that the properties to be partitioned are the same The Court notes that the loan was contracted by the decedent. The petitioner,
properties embraced in the will.[23] In the present case, the deceased, Efraim Santibaez, left a purportedly a creditor of the late Efraim Santibaez, should have thus filed its money claim
holographic will[24] which contained, inter alia, the provision which reads as follows: with the probate court in accordance with Section 5, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court,
which provides:
(e) All other properties, real or personal, which I own and may be discovered later after my
demise, shall be distributed in the proportion indicated in the immediately preceding Section 5. Claims which must be filed under the notice. If not filed barred; exceptions. All
paragraph in favor of Edmund and Florence, my children. claims for money against the decedent, arising from contract, express or implied, whether the
same be due, not due, or contingent, all claims for funeral expenses for the last sickness of
the decedent, and judgment for money against the decedent, must be filed within the time
We agree with the appellate court that the above-quoted is an all-encompassing
provision embracing all the properties left by the decedent which might have escaped his limited in the notice; otherwise they are barred forever, except that they may be set forth as
counterclaims in any action that the executor or administrator may bring against the
mind at that time he was making his will, and other properties he may acquire thereafter.
claimants. Where an executor or administrator commences an action, or prosecutes an
Included therein are the three (3) subject tractors. This being so, any partition involving the
action already commenced by the deceased in his lifetime, the debtor may set forth by
said tractors among the heirs is not valid. The joint agreement[25] executed by Edmund and
answer the claims he has against the decedent, instead of presenting them independently to
Florence, partitioning the tractors among themselves, is invalid, specially so since at the time
of its execution, there was already a pending proceeding for the probate of their late fathers the court as herein provided, and mutual claims may be set off against each other in such
holographic will covering the said tractors. action; and if final judgment is rendered in favor of the defendant, the amount so determined
shall be considered the true balance against the estate, as though the claim had been
It must be stressed that the probate proceeding had already acquired jurisdiction over all
presented directly before the court in the administration proceedings. Claims not yet due, or
the properties of the deceased, including the three (3) tractors. To dispose of them in any
contingent, may be approved at their present value.
way without the probate courts approval is tantamount to divesting it with jurisdiction which
the Court cannot allow.[26] Every act intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and
legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an The filing of a money claim against the decedents estate in the probate court is
exchange, a compromise, or any other transaction.[27] Thus, in executing any joint agreement mandatory.[30] As we held in the vintage case of Py Eng Chong v. Herrera:[31]
which appears to be in the nature of an extra-judicial partition, as in the case at bar, court
approval is imperative, and the heirs cannot just divest the court of its jurisdiction over that This requirement is for the purpose of protecting the estate of the deceased by informing the
part of the estate. Moreover, it is within the jurisdiction of the probate court to determine the executor or administrator of the claims against it, thus enabling him to examine each claim
identity of the heirs of the decedent.[28] In the instant case, there is no showing that the and to determine whether it is a proper one which should be allowed. The plain and obvious
signatories in the joint agreement were the only heirs of the decedent. When it was executed, design of the rule is the speedy settlement of the affairs of the deceased and the early
the probate of the will was still pending before the court and the latter had yet to determine delivery of the property to the distributees, legatees, or heirs. `The law strictly requires the
who the heirs of the decedent were. Thus, for Edmund and respondent Florence S. Ariola to prompt presentation and disposition of the claims against the decedent's estate in order to
adjudicate unto themselves the three (3) tractors was a premature act, and prejudicial to the settle the affairs of the estate as soon as possible, pay off its debts and distribute the
other possible heirs and creditors who may have a valid claim against the estate of the residue.[32]
deceased.
The question that now comes to fore is whether the heirs assumption of the Perusing the records of the case, nothing therein could hold private respondent Florence
indebtedness of the decedent is binding. We rule in the negative. Perusing the joint S. Ariola accountable for any liability incurred by her late father. The documentary evidence
agreement, it provides that the heirs as parties thereto have agreed to divide between presented, particularly the promissory notes and the continuing guaranty agreement, were
themselves and take possession and use the above-described chattel and each of them to executed and signed only by the late Efraim Santibaez and his son Edmund. As the petitioner
assume the indebtedness corresponding to the chattel taken as herein after stated which is in failed to file its money claim with the probate court, at most, it may only go after Edmund as
favor of First Countryside Credit Corp.[29] The assumption of liability was conditioned upon the co-maker of the decedent under the said promissory notes and continuing guaranty, of
happening of an event, that is, that each heir shall take possession and use of their course, subject to any defenses Edmund may have as against the petitioner. As the court
34

had not acquired jurisdiction over the person of Edmund, we find it unnecessary to delve into petitioners in this case, while the estate of Maximino, Sr., Romeo, and his wife Eliza
the matter further. Nazareno are the respondents.
We agree with the finding of the trial court that the petitioner had not sufficiently shown During their marriage, Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete acquired properties in
that it is the successor-in-interest of the Union Savings and Mortgage Bank to which the Quezon City and in the Province of Cavite. It is the ownership of some of these properties
FCCC assigned its assets and liabilities.[33] The petitioner in its complaint alleged that by that is in question in this case.
virtue of the Deed of Assignment dated August 20, 1981 executed by and between First It appears that after the death of Maximino, Sr., Romeo filed an intestate case in the
Countryside Credit Corporation and Union Bank of the Philippines[34] However, the Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch XV, where the case was docketed as Sp. Proc. No.
documentary evidence[35] clearly reflects that the parties in the deed of assignment with NC-28.Upon the reorganization of the courts in 1983, the case was transferred to the
assumption of liabilities were the FCCC, and the Union Savings and Mortgage Bank, with the Regional Trial Court of Naic, Cavite. Romeo was appointed administrator of his fathers
conformity of Bancom Philippine Holdings, Inc. Nowhere can the petitioners participation estate.
therein as a party be found. Furthermore, no documentary or testimonial evidence was In the course of the intestate proceedings, Romeo discovered that his parents had
presented during trial to show that Union Savings and Mortgage Bank is now, in fact, executed several deeds of sale conveying a number of real properties in favor of his sister,
petitioner Union Bank of the Philippines. As the trial court declared in its decision: Natividad. One of the deeds involved six lots in Quezon City which were allegedly sold by
Maximino, Sr., with the consent of Aurea, to Natividad on January 29, 1970 for the total
[T]he court also finds merit to the contention of defendant that plaintiff failed to prove or did amount of P47,800.00. The Deed of Absolute Sale reads as follows:
not present evidence to prove that Union Savings and Mortgage Bank is now the Union Bank
of the Philippines. Judicial notice does not apply here. The power to take judicial notice is to DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE
[be] exercised by the courts with caution; care must be taken that the requisite notoriety KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
exists; and every reasonable doubt upon the subject should be promptly resolved in the I, MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, Filipino, married to Aurea Poblete-Nazareno, of legal age and
negative. (Republic vs. Court of Appeals, 107 SCRA 504).[36] a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines,
-WITNESSETH-
This being the case, the petitioners personality to file the complaint is wanting. That I am the absolute registered owner of six (6) parcels of land with the improvements
Consequently, it failed to establish its cause of action. Thus, the trial court did not err in thereon situated in Quezon City, Philippines, which parcels of land are herewith described
dismissing the complaint, and the CA in affirming the same. and bounded as follows, to wit:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 140946
Court of Appeals Decision is AFFIRMED. No costs. A parcel of land (Lot 3-B of the subdivision plan Psd-47404, being a portion of Lot 3, Block D-
3 described on plan Bsd-10642, G.L.R.O. Record No.) situated in the Quirino District,
SO ORDERED. Quezon City. Bounded on the N., along line 1-2 by Lot 15, Block D-3 of plan Bsd - 10642;
along line 2-3 by Lot 4, Block D-3 of plan Bsd-10642; along line 3-4 by Aurora Boulevard
NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, MAXIMINO P. NAZARENO, JR., petitioners, vs. COURT OF
(Road Lot-1, Bsd-10642); and along line 4-1 by Lot 3-D of the subdivision plan. Beginning at
APPEALS, ESTATE OF MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR., ROMEO P. NAZARENO
a point marked 1 on plan, being S.29 deg. 26E., 1156.22 m. from B.L.L.M. 9, Quezon City,
and ELIZA NAZARENO, respondents.

thence N. 79 deg. 53E., 12.50 m. to point 2;


DECISION
thence S. 10 deg. 07E., 40.00 m. to point 3;
MENDOZA, J.: thence S. 79 deg. 53W., 12.50 m. to point 4;
thence N. 10 deg. 07W., 40.00 m. to the point
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision [1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-
GR CV No. 39441 dated May 29, 1998 affirming with modifications the decision of the of beginning; containing an area of FIVE HUNDRED (500) SQUARE METERS. All points
Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City, in an action for annulment of sale and referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground as follows: points 1 and 4
damages. by P.L.S. Cyl. Conc. Mons. bearings true; date of the original survey, April 8-July 15, 1920
The facts are as follows: and that of the subdivision survey, March 25, 1956.
Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete were husband and wife. Aurea died on April TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 132019
15, 1970, while Maximino, Sr. died on December 18, 1980. They had five children, namely, A parcel of land (Lot 3, Block 93 of the subdivision plan Psd-57970 being a portion of Lot 6,
Natividad, Romeo, Jose, Pacifico, and Maximino, Jr. Natividad and Maximino, Jr. are the Pcs-4786, G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 917) situated in Quirino District Quezon City. Bounded on the
35

NW., along line 1-2, by Lot 1, Block 93; on the NE., along line 2-3, by Road Lot 101; on the thence S. 64 deg. 59W., 29.99 m. to point 2;
SE., along line 3-4, by Road Lot 100; on the SW., along line 4-1, by Lot 4, Block 93; all of the thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 3;
subdivision plan. Beginning at point marked 1 on plan, being S. 65 deg. 40 3339.92 m. from thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to point 4;
B.L.L.M. No. 1, Marikina, Rizal; thence S. 26 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to the point of

thence N. 23 deg. 28 min. E., 11.70 m. to point 2; beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more
thence S. 66 deg. 32 min. E., 18.00 m. to point 3; or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground, are marked by
thence S. 23 deg. 28 min. W., 11.70 m. to point 4; P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E.; date of the original
thence N. 66 deg. 32. min. W., 18.00 m. to the point survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24
to 26, 1941.
of beginning; containing an area of TWO HUNDRED TEN SQUARE METERS AND SIXTY A parcel of land (Lot No. 13 of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a
SQUARE DECIMETERS (210.60). All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B,
marked on the ground by B.L. Cyl. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; date of the Psd-14901, G.L.R.O.Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island
original survey, Nov. 10, 1920 and Jan. 31-March 31, 1924 and that of the subdivision of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the
survey, February 1 to September 30, 1954. Date approved - March 9, 1962. SE., by Lot No. 14, of the consolidation; and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the
TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 118885 consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 12, of the consolidation and
A parcel of land (Lot No. 10, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a subdivision plan. Beginning at the point marked 1 on plan, being S.78 deg. 48W., 4258.20 m.
portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B, more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina;
Psd-14901, G.L.R.O.Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island
of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the thence S. 64 deg. 58W., 30.00 m. to point 2;
SE., by Lot No. 11 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 3;
consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 9 of the consolidation and thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to point 4;
subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on the plan, being S. 7 deg. 26W., 4269.90 thence S.25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point of
m. more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina;
beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360, more
thence S. 25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point 2; or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by
thence S. 64 deg. 59W., 29.99 m. to point 3; P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original
thence N. 25 deg. 00W., 12.00 m to point 4; survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24
thence N. 64 deg. 59E., 29.99 m. to the point of to 26, 1941.
A parcel of land (Lot No. 14, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a
beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B,
or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island
P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the
survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 SE., by Lot No. 15, of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the
to 26, 1941. consolidation and subdivision plan; and on the NW., by Lot No. 13 of the consolidation and
TRANS. CERT. OF TITLE NO. 118886 subdivision plan. Beginning at the point marked 1 on plan, being S.78 deg. 48W., 4258.20 m.
A parcel of land (Lot No. 11, of the consolidation and subdivision plan Pcs-988, being a more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina;
portion of the consolidated Lot No. 26, Block No. 6, Psd-127, and Lots Nos. 27-A and 27-B,
Psd-14901, G.L.R.O. Record No. 917), situated in the District of Cubao, Quezon City, Island thence S. 25 deg. 00E., 12.00 m. to point 2;
of Luzon. Bounded on the NE., by Lot No. 4 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the thence S. 65 deg. 00W., 30.00 m. to point 3;
SE., by Lot No. 12 of the consolidation and subdivision plan; on the SW., by Lot No. 3 of the thence S. 65 deg. 00W., 12.00 m. to point 4;
consolidation and subdivision plan; on the NW., by Lot No. 10 of the consolidation and thence N.64 deg. 58E., 30.00 m. to the point of
subdivision plan. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan, being S. 79 deg. 07W., 4264.00 m.
more or less from B.L.L.M. No. 1, Mp. of Mariquina;
36

beginning; containing an area of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY SQUARE METERS (360), more Case No. 88-58.[11] Romeo sought the declaration of nullity of the sale made on January 29,
or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and on the ground are marked by 1970 to Natividad and that made on July 31, 1982 to Maximino, Jr. on the ground that both
P.L.S. Conc. Mons. 15 x 60 cm.; bearings true; declination 0 deg. 50E., date of the original sales were void for lack of consideration.
survey, April 8 to July 15, 1920, and that of the consolidation and subdivision survey, April 24 On March 1, 1990, Natividad and Maximino, Jr. filed a third-party complaint against the
to 26, 1941. spouses Romeo and Eliza.[12] They alleged that Lot 3, which was included in the Deed of
That for and in consideration of the sum of FORTY THREE THOUSAND PESOS Absolute Sale of January 29, 1970 to Natividad, had been surreptitiously appropriated by
(P43,000.00) PHILIPPINE CURRENCY, to me in hand paid by NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, Romeo by securing for himself a new title (TCT No. 277968) in his name. [13] They alleged that
Filipino, single, of legal age and a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines, Lot 3 is being leased by the spouses Romeo and Eliza to third persons. They therefore
the receipt whereof is acknowledged to my entire satisfaction, I do hereby CEDE, SELL, sought the annulment of the transfer to Romeo and the cancellation of his title, the eviction of
TRANSFER, CONVEY and ASSIGN unto the said Natividad P. Nazareno, her heirs, Romeo and his wife Eliza and all persons claiming rights from Lot 3, and the payment of
administrators and assigns, all my title, rights, interests and participations to the damages.
abovedescribed parcels of land with the improvements thereon, with the exception of LOT The issues having been joined, the case was set for trial. Romeo presented evidence to
NO. 11 COVERED BY T.C.T. NO. 118886, free of any and all liens and encumbrances; and show that Maximino and Aurea Nazareno never intended to sell the six lots to Natividad and
That for and in consideration of the sum of FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED PESOS that Natividad was only to hold the said lots in trust for her siblings. He presented the Deed of
(P4,800.00) PHILIPPINE CURRENCY, to me in hand paid by NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO, Partition and Distribution dated June 28, 1962 executed by Maximino Sr. and Aurea and duly
Filipino, single, of legal age and a resident of the Mun. of Naic, Prov. of Cavite, Philippines, signed by all of their children, except Jose, who was then abroad and was represented by
the receipt whereof is acknowledged to my entire satisfaction, I do hereby CEDE, SELL, their mother, Aurea. By virtue of this deed, the nine lots subject of this Deed of Partition were
TRANSFER, CONVEY and ASSIGN unto the said Natividad P. Nazareno, her heirs, assigned by raffle as follows:
administrators and assigns, all my title, rights, interests and participations in and to Lot No. 11
covered by T.C.T. No. 118886 above-described, free of any and all liens and encumbrances, 1. Romeo - Lot 25-L (642 m2)
with the understanding that the title to be issued in relation hereto shall be separate and 2. Natividad - Lots 23 (312 m 2) and 24 (379 m2)
distinct from the title to be issued in connection with Lots Nos. 13 and 14, although covered 3. Maximino, Jr. - Lots 6 (338 m2) and 7 (338 m2)
by the same title. 4. Pacifico - Lots 13 (360 m2) and 14 (360 m2)
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed this deed of absolute sale in the City of 5. Jose - Lots 10 (360 m2) and 11 (360 m 2)
Manila, Philippines, this 29th day of January, 1970.[2] Romeo received the title to Lot 25-L under his name,[14] while Maximino, Jr. received
Lots 6 and 7 through a Deed of Sale dated August 16, 1966 for the amount
By virtue of this deed, transfer certificates of title were issued to Natividad, to wit: TCT of P9,500.00.[15]Pacifico and Joses shares were allegedly given to Natividad, who agreed to
No. 162738 (Lot 3-B),[3] TCT No. 162739 (Lot 3),[4] TCT No. 162735 (Lot 10),[5] TCT No. give Lots 10 and 11 to Jose, in the event the latter came back from abroad. Natividads share,
162736 (Lot 11),[6] and TCT No. 162737 (Lots 13 and 14),[7] all of the Register of Deeds of on the other hand, was sold to third persons [16] because she allegedly did not like the location
Quezon City. of the two lots. But, Romeo said, the money realized from the sale was given to Natividad.
Among the lots covered by the above Deed of Sale is Lot 3-B which is registered under Romeo also testified that Lot 3-B was bought for him by his father, while Lot 3 was sold
TCT No. 140946. This lot had been occupied by Romeo, his wife Eliza, and by Maximino, Jr. to him for P7,000.00 by his parents on July 4, 1969.[17] However, he admitted that a document
since 1969. Unknown to Romeo, Natividad sold Lot 3-B on July 31, 1982 to Maximino, was executed by his parents transferring six properties in Quezon City, i.e., Lots 3, 3-B, 10,
Jr.,[8] for which reason the latter was issued TCT No. 293701 by the Register of Deeds of 11, 13, and 14, to Natividad.
Quezon City.[9] Romeo further testified that, although the deeds of sale executed by his parents in their
When Romeo found out about the sale to Maximino, Jr., he and his wife favor stated that the sale was for a consideration, they never really paid any amount for the
Eliza locked Maximino, Jr. out of the house. On August 4, 1983, Maximino, Jr. brought an supposed sale. The transfer was made in this manner in order to avoid the payment of
action for recovery ofpossession and damages with prayer for writs of preliminary injunction inheritance taxes.[18] Romeo denied stealing Lot 3 from his sister but instead claimed that the
and mandatory injunction with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. On December 12, title to said lot was given to him by Natividad in 1981 after their father died.
1986, the trial court ruled in favor of Maximino, Jr. In CA-G.R. CV No. 12932, the Court of Natividad and Maximino, Jr. claimed that the Deed of Partition and Distribution executed
Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.[10] in 1962 was not really carried out. Instead, in December of 1969, their parents offered to sell
On June 15, 1988, Romeo in turn filed, on behalf of the estate of Maximino, Sr., the to them the six lots in Quezon City, i.e., Lots 3, 3-B, 10, 11, 13 and 14. However, it was only
present case for annulment of sale with damages against Natividad and Maximino, Jr. The Natividad who bought the six properties because she was the only one financially able to do
case was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, where it was docketed as Civil so. Natividad said she sold Lots 13 and 14 to Ros-Alva Marketing Corp.[19] and Lot 3-B to
37

Maximino, Jr. for P175,000.00.[20] Natividad admitted that Romeo and the latters wife were The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is directed to annotate this judgment on Transfer
occupying Lot 3-B at that time and that she did not tell the latter about the sale she had made Certificates of Title No. 162735 and 162736 as a lien on the titles of Natividad P. Nazareno.
to Maximino, Jr. LIKEWISE, THE SAID REGISTER OF DEEDS IS DIRECTED TO CANCEL TCT NO. 293701
Natividad said that she had the title to Lot 3 but it somehow got lost. She could not get (formerly 162705) OVER LOT 3-B AND RESTORE TCT NO. 140946 IN THE NAME OF
an original copy of the said title because the records of the Registrar of Deeds had been MAXIMINO NAZARENO SR. AND AUREA POBLETE.[22]
destroyed by fire. She claimed she was surprised to learn that Romeo was able to obtain a
title to Lot 3 in his name. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the trial court was modified in the
Natividad insisted that she paid the amount stated in the Deed of Absolute Sale dated sense that titles to Lot 3 (in the name of Romeo Nazareno) and Lot 3-B (in the name of
January 29, 1970. She alleged that their parents had sold these properties to their children Maximino Nazareno, Jr.), as well as to Lots 10 and 11 were cancelled and ordered restored
instead of merely giving the same to them in order to impose on them the value of hardwork. to the estate of Maximino Nazareno, Sr. The dispositive portion of the decision dated May 29,
Natividad accused Romeo of filing this case to harass her after Romeo lost in the action 1998 reads:
for recovery of possession (Civil Case No. Q-39018) which had been brought against him by
Maximino, Jr. It appears that before the case filed by Romeo could be decided, the Court of
WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The decision and the order in question are modified
Appeals rendered a decision in CA-GR CV No. 12932 affirming the trial courts decision in
as follows:
favor of Maximino, Jr.
1. The Deed of Absolute Sale dated 29 January 1970 and the Deed of Absolute Sale dated
On August 10, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which 31 July 1982 are hereby declared null and void;
states:
2. Except as to Lots 13 and 14 ownership of which has passed on to third persons, it is
hereby declared that Lots 3, 3-B, 10 and 11 shall form part of the estate of the deceased
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the nullity of the Deed of Sale dated Maximino Nazareno, Sr.;
January 29, 1970. Except as to Lots 3, 3-B, 13 and 14 which had passed on to third persons, 3. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is hereby ordered to restore TCT No. 140946
the defendant Natividad shall hold the rest in trust for Jose Nazareno to whom the same had (covering Lot 3-B), TCT No. 132019 (covering Lot 3), TCT No. 118885 (covering Lot 10), and
been adjudicated. The Register of Deeds of Quezon City is directed to annotate this TCT No. 118886 (covering Lot 11).[23]
judgment on Transfer Certificate of Titles Nos. 162735 and 162736 as a lien in the titles of
Natividad P. Nazareno.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution dated May
The defendants counterclaim is dismissed. Likewise, the third-party complaint is dismissed.
27, 1999. Hence this petition.
The defendants are hereby directed to pay to the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum Petitioners raise the following issues:
of P30,000 as and for attorneys fees. Likewise, the third-party plaintiff is directed to pay the
third-party defendants attorneys fees of P20,000. 1. WHETHER OR NOT THE UNCORROBORATED TESTIMONY OF PRIVATE
All other claims by one party against the other are dismissed. RESPONDENT ROMEO P. NAZARENO CAN DESTROY THE FULL FAITH
SO ORDERED.[21] AND CREDIT ACCORDED TO NOTARIZED DOCUMENTS LIKE THE DEED
OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 (EXH. 1) EXECUTED BY
Natividad and Maximino, Jr. filed a motion for reconsideration. As a result, on October THE DECEASED SPOUSES MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. AND AUREA
14, 1992 the trial court modified its decision as follows: POBLETE IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO.
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT COURT GROSSLY
WHEREFORE, the plaintiffs Partial Motion for Reconsideration is hereby granted. The MISAPPRECIATED THE FACTS OF THE CASE WITH RESPECT TO THE
judgment dated August 10, 1992 is hereby amended, such that the first paragraph of its VALIDITY OF THE SAID DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29,
dispositive portion is correspondingly modified to read as follows: 1970 (EXH. 1) IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING:
A) THE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE, ALL OF WHICH ARE NOTARIZED,
EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES DURING THEIR LIFETIME
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the nullity of the Deeds of Sale dated INVOLVING SOME OF THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES.
January 29, 1970 and July 31, 1982. B) THE EXECUTION OF AN EXTRA-JUDICIAL PARTITION WITH WAIVER OF
Except as to Lots 3, 13 and 14 which had passed on to third person, the defendant Natividad RIGHTS AND CONFIRMATION OF SALE DATED MAY 24, 1975 (EXH. 14A)
shall hold the rest OF THE PROPERTIES COVERED BY THE DEED OF SALE DATED OF THE ESTATE OF AUREA POBLETE BY THE DECEASED MAXIMINO
JANUARY 29, 1970 (LOTS 10 and 11) in trust for Jose Nazareno to whom the same had A. NAZARENO, SR. AND THEIR CHILDREN INVOLVING THE ONLY
been adjudicated.
38

REMAINING ESTATE OF AUREA POBLETE THUS IMPLIEDLY We find the petition to be without merit.
ADMITTING THE VALIDITY OF PREVIOUS DISPOSITIONS MADE BY First. Petitioners argue that the lone testimony of Romeo is insufficient to overcome the
SAID DECEASED SPOUSES ON THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES, HALF presumption of validity accorded to a notarized document.
OF WHICH WOULD HAVE BECOME A PART OF AUREA POBLETES To begin with, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties
ESTATE UPON HER DEMISE. and carry even more weight when these coincide with the factual findings of the trial
C) THE ADMISSION MADE BY MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, SR. IN HIS court. This Court will not weigh the evidence all over again unless there is a showing that the
TESTIMONY IN OPEN COURT ON AUGUST 13, 1980 DURING HIS findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are clearly erroneous so as to
LIFETIME IN CIVIL CASE NO. NC-712 (EXH. 81, 81B) THAT HE HAD SOLD constitute serious abuse of discretion.[25] The lone testimony of a witness, if credible, is
CERTAIN PROPERTIES IN FAVOR OF NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO THUS sufficient. In this case, the testimony of Romeo that no consideration was ever paid for the
BELYING THE CLAIM OF ROMEO P. NAZARENO THAT THE DEED OF sale of the six lots to Natividad was found to be credible both by the trial court and by the
ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 IS ONE AMONG THE Court of Appeals and it has not been successfully rebutted by petitioners. We, therefore,
DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES TO BE have no reason to overturn the findings by the two courts giving credence to his testimony.
WITHOUT CONSIDERATION. The fact that the deed of sale was notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its
D) THE ADMISSIONS MADE BY ROMEO P. NAZARENO HIMSELF contents. As held in Suntay v. Court of Appeals:[26]
CONTAINED IN A FINAL DECISION OF THE RESPONDENT COURT IN
CA-GR CV NO. 12932 DATED AUGUST 31, 1992 AND AN ANNEX Though the notarization of the deed of sale in question vests in its favor the presumption of
APPEARING IN HIS ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT IN CIVIL CASE NO. Q- regularity, it is not the intention nor the function of the notary public to validate and make
39018 (EXH. 11-B) INVOLVING LOT 3B, ONE OF THE PROPERTIES IN binding an instrument never, in the first place, intended to have any binding legal effect upon
QUESTION THAT THE SAID PROPERTY IS OWNED BY PETITIONER the parties thereto. The intention of the parties still and always is the primary consideration in
NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO. determining the true nature of a contract.
E) THE PARTIAL PROJECT OF PARTITION DATED MAY 24, 1995 WHICH
WAS APPROVED BY THE INTESTATE COURT IN SP. PROC. NO. NC-28 Second. Petitioners make capital of the fact that in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 12932, which was
AND EXECUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LATTER COURTS FINAL
declared final by this Court in G.R. No. 107684, the Court of Appeals upheld the right of
ORDER DATED JULY 9, 1991 DETERMINING WHICH WERE THE
Maximino, Jr. to recover possession of Lot 3-B. In that case, the Court of Appeals held:
REMAINING PROPERTIES OF THE ESTATE.
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JANUARY 29,
1970 EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES MAXIMINO A. NAZARENO, As shown in the preceding disquisition, Natividad P. Nazareno acquired the property in
SR. AND AUREA POBLETE DURING THEIR LIFETIME INVOLVING THEIR dispute by purchase in 1970. She was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 162738 of the
CONJUGAL PROPERTIES IS AN INDIVISIBLE CONTRACT? AND IF SO Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. When her parents died, her mother Aurea Poblete-
WHETHER OR NOT UPON THEIR DEATH, THE ESTATE OF MAXIMINO A. Nazareno in 1970 and her father Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. in 1980, Natividad P. Nazareno
NAZARENO, SR. ALONE CAN SEEK THE ANNULMENT OF SAID SALE? had long been the exclusive owner of the property in question. There was no way therefore
4. WHETHER OR NOT THE SALE OF LOT 3 UNDER THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE that the aforesaid property could belong to the estate of the spouses Maximino Nazareno, Sr.
SALE DATED JANUARY 29, 1970 IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER NATIVIDAD P. and Aurea Poblete. The mere fact that Romeo P. Nazareno included the same property in an
NAZARENO, IS VALID CONSIDERING THAT AS PER THE ORDER OF THE inventory of the properties of the deceased Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. will not adversely
LOWER COURT DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1990. ROMEO NAZARENO affect the ownership of the said realty. Appellant Romeo P. Nazarenos suspicion that his
ADMITTED THAT HE DID NOT PAY THE CONSIDERATION STATED IN THE parents had entrusted all their assets under the care and in the name of Natividad P.
DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED JULY 4, 1969 EXECUTED BY THE Nazareno, their eldest living sister who was still single, to be divided upon their demise to all
DECEASED SPOUSES IN HIS FAVOR (EXH. M-2). the compulsory heirs, has not progressed beyond mere speculation. His barefaced allegation
5. WHETHER OR NOT AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE TITLE ISSUED IN THE on the point not only is without any corroboration but is even belied by documentary
NAME OF ROMEO P. NAZARENO, TCT NO. 277968 (EXH. M) SHOULD BE evidence. The deed of absolute sale (Exhibit B), being a public document (Rule 132, Secs.
CANCELLED AND DECLARED NULL AND VOID AND A NEW ONE ISSUED 19 and 23, Revised Rules on Evidence), is entitled to great weight; to contradict the same,
IN FAVOR OF NATIVIDAD P. NAZARENO PURSUANT TO THE DEED OF there must be evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant
ABSOLUTE SALE EXECUTED IN THE LATTERS FAVOR ON JANUARY 29, (Yturralde vs. Aganon, 28 SCRA 407; Favor vs. Court of Appeals, 194 SCRA
1970 BY THE DECEASED SPOUSES.[24] 308). Defendants-appellants own conduct disproves their claim of co-ownership over the
property in question.Being themselves the owner of a ten-unit apartment building along
39

Stanford St., Cubao Quezon City, defendants-appellants, in a letter of demand to vacate when she is admittedly the closest to her parents and the one staying with them and
addressed to their tenants (Exhibits P, P-1 and P-2) in said apartment, admitted that the managing their affairs? It just seems without reason. Anyway, the Court is convinced that the
house and lot located at No. 979 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City where they were residing did not questioned Deed of Sale dated January 29, 1970 (Exh. A or 1) is simulated for lack of
belong to them. Also, when they applied for a permit to repair the subject property in 1977, consideration, and therefore ineffective and void.[29]
they stated that the property belonged to and was registered in the name of Natividad P.
Nazareno. Among the documents submitted to support their application for a building permit In affirming this ruling, the Court of Appeals said:
was a copy of TCT No. 162738 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City in the name of
Natividad Nazareno (Exhibit O and submarkings; tsn March 15, 1985, pp. 4-5).[27]
Facts and circumstances indicate badges of a simulated sale which make the Deed of
Absolute Sale dated 29 January 1970 void and of no effect. In the case of Suntay vs. Court of
To be sure, that case was for recovery of possession based on ownership of Lot 3- Appeals (251 SCRA 430 [1995]), the Supreme Court held that badges of simulation make a
B. The parties in that case were Maximino, Jr., as plaintiff, and the spouses Romeo and deed of sale null and void since parties thereto enter into a transaction to which they did not
Eliza, as defendants. On the other hand, the parties in the present case for annulment of sale intend to be legally bound.
are the estate of Maximino, Sr., as plaintiff, and Natividad and Maximino, Jr., as defendants. It appears that it was the practice in the Nazareno family to make simulated transfers of
Romeo and Eliza were named third-party defendants after a third-party complaint was filed by ownership of real properties to their children in order to avoid the payment of inheritance
Natividad and Maximino, Jr. As already stated, however, this third-party complaint concerned taxes. Per the testimony of Romeo, he acquired Lot 25-L from his parents through a fictitious
Lot 3, and not Lot 3-B. or simulated sale wherein no consideration was paid by him. He even truthfully admitted that
The estate of a deceased person is a juridical entity that has a personality of its the sale of Lot 3 to him on 04 July 1969 (Deed of Absolute Sale, Records, Vol. II, p. 453)
own.[28] Though Romeo represented at one time the estate of Maximino, Sr., the latter has a likewise had no consideration. This document was signed by the spouses Max, Sr. and Aurea
separate and distinct personality from the former. Hence, the judgment in CA-GR CV No. as vendors while defendant-appellant Natividad signed as witness.[30]
12932 regarding the ownership of Maximino, Jr. over Lot 3-B binds Romeo and Eliza only,
and not the estate of Maximino, Sr., which also has a right to recover properties which were Fourth. Petitioners argue further:
wrongfully disposed.
Furthermore, Natividads title was clearly not an issue in the first case. In other words,
the title to the other five lots subject of the present deed of sale was not in issue in that case. The Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 29, 1970 is an indivisible contract founded on an
If the first case resolved anything, it was the ownership of Maximino, Jr. over Lot 3-B alone. indivisible obligation. As such, it being indivisible, it can not be annulled by only one of
Third. Petitioners allege that, as shown by several deeds of sale executed by Maximino, them. And since this suit was filed only by the estate of Maximino A. Nazareno, Sr. without
Sr. and Aurea during their lifetime, the intention to dispose of their real properties is including the estate of Aurea Poblete, the present suit must fail. The estate of Maximino A.
clear.Consequently, they argue that the Deed of Sale of January 29, 1970 should also be Nazareno, Sr. can not cause its annulment while its validity is sustained by the estate of
deemed valid. Aurea Poblete.[31]
This is a non-sequitur. The fact that other properties had allegedly been sold by the
spouses Maximino, Sr. and Aurea does not necessarily show that the Deed of Sale made on An obligation is indivisible when it cannot be validly performed in parts, whatever may be
January 29, 1970 is valid. the nature of the thing which is the object thereof. The indivisibility refers to the prestation and
Romeo does not dispute that their parents had executed deeds of sale. The question, not to the object thereof.[32] In the present case, the Deed of Sale of January 29, 1970
however, is whether these sales were made for a consideration. The trial court and the Court supposedly conveyed the six lots to Natividad. The obligation is clearly indivisible because
of Appeals found that the Nazareno spouses transferred their properties to their children by the performance of the contract cannot be done in parts, otherwise the value of what is
fictitious sales in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes. transferred is diminished. Petitioners are therefore mistaken in basing the indivisibility of a
Indeed, it was found both by the trial court and by the Court of Appeals that Natividad contract on the number of obligors.
had no means to pay for the six lots subject of the Deed of Sale. In any case, if petitioners only point is that the estate of Maximino, Sr. alone cannot
contest the validity of the Deed of Sale because the estate of Aurea has not yet been settled,
All these convince the Court that Natividad had no means to pay for all the lots she the argument would nonetheless be without merit. The validity of the contract can be
purportedly purchased from her parents. What is more, Romeos admission that he did not questioned by anyone affected by it.[33] A void contract is inexistent from the beginning.
pay for the transfer to him of lots 3 and 25-L despite the considerations stated in the deed of Hence, even if the estate of Maximino, Sr. alone contests the validity of the sale, the outcome
sale is a declaration against interest and must ring with resounding truth. The question is, of the suit will bind the estate of Aurea as if no sale took place at all.
why should Natividad be treated any differently, i.e., with consideration for the sale to her,
40

Fifth. As to the third-party complaint concerning Lot 3, we find that this has been passed Petitioner seeks to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No.
upon by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. As Romeo admitted, no consideration was 31976[1], affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City[2], which rendered
paid by him to his parents for the Deed of Sale. Therefore, the sale was void for having been inofficious the donation made by Leoncio Imperial in favor of herein petitioner, to the extent
simulated. Natividad never acquired ownership over the property because the Deed of Sale that it impairs the legitime of Victor Imperial, and ordering petitioner to convey to herein
in her favor is also void for being without consideration and title to Lot 3 cannot be issued in private respondents, heirs of said Victor Imperial, that portion of the donated land
her name. proportionate to Victor Imperials legitime.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Maximino, Sr. intended to give the six Quezon City Leoncio Imperial was the registered owner of a 32,837-square meter parcel of land
lots to Natividad. As Romeo testified, their parents executed the Deed of Sale in favor of covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 200, also known as Lot 45 of the Cadastral Survey
Natividad because the latter was the only female and the only unmarried member of the of Albay. On July 7, 1951, Leoncio sold the said lot for P1.00 to his acknowledged natural
family.[34] She was thus entrusted with the real properties in behalf of her siblings. As she son, petitioner herein, who then acquired title over the land and proceeded to subdivide it into
herself admitted, she intended to convey Lots 10 and 11 to Jose in the event the latter several lots. Petitioner and private respondents admit that despite the contracts designation
returned from abroad. There was thus an implied trust constituted in her favor. Art. 1449 of as one of Absolute Sale, the transaction was in fact a donation.
the Civil Code states: On July 28, 1953, or barely two years after the donation, Leoncio filed a complaint for
annulment of the said Deed of Absolute Sale, docketed as Civil Case No. 1177, in the then
There is also an implied trust when a donation is made to a person but it appears that Court of First Instance of Albay, on the ground that he was deceived by petitioner herein into
although the legal estate is transmitted to the donee, he nevertheless is either to have no signing the said document. The dispute, however, was resolved through a compromise
beneficial interest or only a part thereof. agreement, approved by the Court of First Instance of Albay on November 3, 1961 [3], under
which terms: (1) Leoncio recognized the legality and validity of the rights of petitioner to the
land donated; and (2) petitioner agreed to sell a designated 1,000-square meter portion of the
There being an implied trust, the lots in question are therefore subject to collation in
donated land, and to deposit the proceeds thereof in a bank, for the convenient disposal of
accordance with Art. 1061 which states:
Leoncio. In case of Leoncios death, it was agreed that the balance of the deposit will be
withdrawn by petitioner to defray burial costs.
Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass On January 8, 1962, and pending execution of the above judgment, Leoncio died,
of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the leaving only two heirs --- the herein petitioner, who is his acknowledged natural son, and an
lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be adopted son, Victor Imperial. On March 8, 1962, Victor was substituted in place of Leoncio in
computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. the above-mentioned case, and it was he who moved for execution of judgment. On March
15, 1962, the motion for execution was duly granted.
As held by the trial court, the sale of Lots 13 and 14 to Ros-Alva Marketing, Corp. on Fifteen years thereafter, or on July 26, 1977, Victor died single and without issue,
April 20, 1979[35] will have to be upheld for Ros-Alva Marketing is an innocent purchaser for survived only by his natural father, Ricardo Villalon, who was a lessee of a portion of the
value which relied on the title of Natividad. The rule is settled that every person dealing with disputed land. Four years hence, or on September 25, 1981, Ricardo died, leaving as his only
registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and heirs his two children, Cesar and Teresa Villalon.
the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the Five years thereafter, or sometime in 1986, Cesar and Teresa filed a complaint for
property.[36] annulment of the donation with the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City, docketed as Civil
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Case No. 7646. Petitioner moved to dismiss on the ground of res judicata, by virtue of the
compromise judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Albay. The trial court
SO ORDERED.
granted the motion to dismiss, but the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts order and
ELOY IMPERIAL, petitioner vs. COURT OF APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF remanded the case for further proceedings.
LEGASPI CITY, CESAR VILLALON, JR., TERESA VILLALON, ANTONIO On October 18, 1989, Cesar and Teresa filed an amended complaint in the same case,
VILLALON, AUGUSTO VILLALON, ROBERTO VILLALON, RICARDO VILLALON Civil Case No. 7646, for Annulment of Documents, Reconveyance and Recovery of
and ESTHER VILLALON, respondents. Possession with the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City, seeking the nullification of the Deed
of Absolute Sale affecting the above property, on grounds of fraud, deceit and
DECISION inofficiousness. In the amended complaint, it was alleged that petitioner caused Leoncio to
execute the donation by taking undue advantage of the latters physical weakness and mental
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
41

unfitness, and that the conveyance of said property in favor of petitioner impaired the legitime which is considered a donation, is hereby reduced proportionately insofar as it affected the
of Victor Imperial, their natural brother and predecessor-in-interest.[4] legitime of the late Victor Imperial, which share is inherited by the plaintiffs herein, to the
In his Answer, petitioner: (1) alleged that Leoncio had conveyed sufficient property to extent that plaintiffs are ordered to be given by defendant a portion of 10,940 square meters
Victor to cover his legitime, consisting of 563 hectares of agricultural land in Manito, Albay; thereof.
(2) reiterated the defense of res judicata, and (3) raised the additional defenses of In order to avoid further conflict, the 10,940 share to be given to plaintiffs should include the
prescription and laches. portion which they are presently occupying, by virtue of the extended lease to their father
Plaintiff Cesar Villalon died on December 26, 1989, while the case was pending in the Ricardo Villalon, where the bungalow in question stands.
Regional Trial Court, and was substituted in this action by his sons, namely, Antonio, The remaining portion to be given to plaintiffs may come from any other portion that may be
Roberto, Augusto, Ricardo and Cesar, Jr., all surnamed Villalon, and his widow, Esther H. agreed upon by the parties, otherwise, this court will appoint a commissioner to undertake the
Villalon. partition.
The RTC held the donation to be inofficious and impairing the legitime of Victor, on the The other 21,897 square meters should go to the defendant as part of his legitime and by
basis of its finding that at the time of Leoncios death, he left no property other than the virtue of the reduced donation.
32,837-square meter parcel of land which he had donated to petitioner. The RTC went on No pronouncement as to damages as they were not sufficiently proved.
further to state that petitioners allegation that other properties existed and were inherited by SO ORDERED.[8]
Victor was not substantiated by the evidence.[5]
The legitime of Victor was determined by the trial court in this manner: The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC Decision in toto.
Before us, petitioner questions the following findings of respondent court: (1) that there
Considering that the property donated is 32,837 square meters, one half of that or 16,418 was no res judicata, there being no identity of parties and cause of action between the instant
square meters becomes the free portion of Leoncio which could be absorbed in the donation case and Civil Case No. 1177; (2) that private respondents had a right to question the
to defendant. The other half, which is also 16,418 square meters is where the legitime of the donation; (3) that private respondents action is barred by prescription, laches and estoppel;
adopted son Victor Imperial has to be taken. and (4) that the donation was inofficious and should be reduced.
The proportion of the legitime of the legitimate child (including the adopted child) in relation to It is an indispensable requirement in res judicata that there be, between the first and
the acknowledged natural child (defendant) is 10 is to 5[,] with the acknowledged natural child second action, identity of parties, of subject matter and of cause of action. [9] A perusal of the
getting of the legitime of the legitimate (adopted) child, in accordance with Art. 895 of the records leads us to conclude that there is no identity of parties and of cause of action as
New Civil Code which provides: between Civil Case No. 1177 and Civil Case No. 7646. Civil Case No. 1177 was instituted by
Leoncio in his capacity as donor of the questioned donation. While it is true that upon his
The legitime of each of the acknowledged natural children and each of the natural children by death, Victor was substituted as plaintiff of the action, such does not alter the fact that Victors
legal fiction shall consist of one-half of the legitime of each of the legitimate children or participation in the case was in representation of the interests of the original plaintiff,
descendants. Leoncio. The purpose behind the rule on substitution of parties is to ensure that the deceased
party would continue to be properly represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal
representative of the estate[10], or his heir, as in this case, for which no court appointment is
From the 16,418 square meters left (after the free portion has been taken) plaintiffs are
therefore entitled to 10,940 square meters while defendant gets 5,420 square meters. [6] required.[11] Petitioners argument, therefore, that there is substantial identity between Leoncio
and private respondents, being heirs and successors-in-interest of Victor, is unavailing.
Moreover, Leoncios cause of action as donor of the property was fraud, purportedly
The trial court likewise held that the applicable prescriptive period is 30 years under employed upon him by petitioner in the execution of the donation. While the same
Article 1141 of the Civil Code[7], reckoned from March 15, 1962, when the writ of execution of circumstances of fraud and deceit are alleged in private respondents complaint, it also raises
the compromise judgment in Civil Case 1177 was issued, and that the original complaint the additional ground of inofficiousness of donation.
having been filed in 1986, the action has not yet prescribed. In addition, the trial court Contrary to petitioners contentions, inofficiousness of donation does not, and could not,
regarded the defense of prescription as having been waived, this not being one of the issues form part of Leoncios cause of action in Civil Case No. 1177. Inofficiousness as a cause of
agreed upon at pre-trial. action may arise only upon the death of the donor, as the value of the donation will then be
Thus, the dispositive portion of the RTCs Decision of December 13, 1990 reads: contrasted with the net value of the estate of the donor-deceased.[12]
Consequently, while in Civil Case No. 1177, Leoncio sought the revocation in full of the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Deed of Absolute Sale otherwise known as Doc. donation on ground of fraud, the instant case actually has two alternative causes of
No. 8; Book No. 14; Page No. 1; Series of 1951 of the Notarial file of Pompeyo B. Calleja action. First, for fraud and deceit, under the same circumstances as alleged in Leoncios
42

complaint, which seeks the annulment in full of the donation, and which the trial court is thirty years, under Article 1141 of the Civil Code. The sense of both courts that this case is
correctly dismissed because the compromise agreement in Civil Case No. 1177 served as a a real action over an immovable allots undue credence to private respondents description of
ratification and waiver on the part of Leoncio of whatever defects in voluntariness and their complaint, as one for Annulment of Documents, Reconveyance and Recovery of
consent may have been attendant in the making of the donation. The second cause of action Possession of Property, which suggests the action to be, in part, a real action enforced by
is the alleged inofficiousness of the donation, resulting in the impairment of Victors legitime, those with claim of title over the disputed land.
which seeks the annulment, not of the entire donation, but only of that portion diminishing the Unfortunately for private respondents, a claim for legitime does not amount to a claim of
legitime.[13]It is on the basis of this second cause of action that private respondents prevailed title. In the recent case of Vizconde vs. Court of Appeals[14], we declared that what is brought
in the lower courts. to collation is not the donated property itself, but the value of the property at the time it was
Petitioner next questions the right of private respondents to contest the donated. The rationale for this is that the donation is a real alienation which conveys
donation. Petitioner sources his argument from Article 772 of the Civil Code, thus: ownership upon its acceptance, hence, any increase in value or any deterioration or loss
thereof is for the account of the heir or donee.[15]
Only those who at the time of the donors death have a right to the legitime and their heirs and What, then, is the prescriptive period for an action for reduction of an inofficious
successors in interest may ask for the reduction of inofficious donations. xxx donation? The Civil Code specifies the following instances of reduction or revocation of
donations: (1) four years, in cases of subsequent birth, appearance, recognition or adoption
of a child;[16] (2) four years, for non-compliance with conditions of the donation;[17] and (3) at
As argued by petitioner, when Leoncio died on January 8, 1962, it was only Victor who
was entitled to question the donation. However, instead of filing an action to contest the any time during the lifetime of the donor and his relatives entitled to support, for failure of the
donor to reserve property for his or their support.[18] Interestingly, donations as in the instant
donation, Victor asked to be substituted as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 1177 and even moved
case,[19] the reduction of which hinges upon the allegation of impairment of legitime, are not
for execution of the compromise judgment therein.
controlled by a particular prescriptive period, for which reason we must resort to the ordinary
No renunciation of legitime may be presumed from the foregoing acts. It must be
rules of prescription.
remembered that at the time of the substitution, the judgment approving the compromise
agreement has already been rendered. Victor merely participated in the execution of the Under Article 1144 of the Civil Code, actions upon an obligation created by law must be
compromise judgment. He was not a party to the compromise agreement. brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues. Thus, the ten-year
prescriptive period applies to the obligation to reduce inofficious donations, required under
More importantly, our law on succession does not countenance tacit repudiation of
Article 771 of the Civil Code, to the extent that they impair the legitime of compulsory heirs.
inheritance. Rather, it requires an express act on the part of the heir. Thus, under Article
From when shall the ten-year period be reckoned? The case of Mateo vs.
1051 of Civil Code:
Lagua, 29 SCRA 864, which involved the reduction for inofficiousness of a donation propter
nuptias, recognized that the cause of action to enforce a legitime accrues upon the death of
The repudiation of an inheritance shall be made in a public or authentic instrument, or by the donor-decedent. Clearly so, since it is only then that the net estate may be ascertained
petition presented to the court having jurisdiction over the testamentary or intestate and on which basis, the legitimes may be determined.
proceedings. It took private respondents 24 years since the death of Leoncio to initiate this case. The
action, therefore, has long prescribed.
Thus, when Victor substituted Leoncio in Civil Case No. 1177 upon the latters death, his As for the trial courts holding that the defense of prescription had been waived, it not
act of moving for execution of the compromise judgment cannot be considered an act of being one of the issues agreed upon at pre-trial, suffice it to say that while the terms of the
renunciation of his legitime. He was, therefore, not precluded or estopped from subsequently pre-trial order bind the parties as to the matters to be taken up in trial, it would be the height
seeking the reduction of the donation, under Article 772. Nor are Victors heirs, upon his of injustice for us to adhere to this technicality when the fact of prescription is manifest in the
death, precluded from doing so, as their right to do so is expressly recognized under Article pleadings of the parties, as well as the findings of fact of the lower courts. [20]
772, and also in Article 1053: A perusal of the factual antecedents reveals that not only has prescription set in, private
respondents are also guilty of estoppel by laches. It may be recalled that Leoncio died on
If the heir should die without having accepted or repudiated the inheritance, his right shall be January 8, 1962. Fifteen years later, Victor died, leaving as his sole heir Ricardo Villalon, who
transmitted to his heirs. also died four years later. While Victor was alive, he gave no indication of any interest to
contest the donation of his deceased father. As we have discussed earlier, the fact that he
Be that as it may, we find merit in petitioners other assignment of errors. Having actively participated in Civil Case No. 1177 did not amount to a renunciation of his inheritance
ascertained this action as one for reduction of an inofficious donation, we cannot sustain the and does not preclude him from bringing an action to claim his legitime. These are matters
holding of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals that the applicable prescriptive period that Victor could not possibly be unaware of, considering that he is a lawyer [21]. Ricardo
43

Villalon was even a lessee of a portion of the donated property, and could have instituted the Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari, which seeks (1) the reversal of the
action as sole heir of his natural son, or at the very least, raised the matter of legitime by way decision[1] of the Court of Appeals promulgated on March 27, 1992 in CA - G.R. CV No.
of counterclaim in an ejectment case[22] filed against him by petitioner in 1979. Neither does it 12587, which affirmed the decision[2]of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 14178,
help private respondents cause that five years have elapsed since the death of Ricardo in except the dismissal of private respondent's claim over lot 943; (2) the dismissal of the
1981 before they filed their complaint with the RTC. complaint filed by private respondent in the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo; and (3) the
Estoppel by laches is the failure or neglect for an unreasonable or unexplained length of declaration of the deed of sale executed by Flavio Zaragoza covering Lot 943 as valid.
time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier, The facts of the case as found by the Court of Appeals and on record are as follows:
warranting a presumption that the person has abandoned his right or declined to assert Flavio Zaragoza Cano was the registered owner of certain parcels of land situated at the
it.[23] We find the necessity for the application of the principle of estoppel by laches in this Municipalities of Cabatuan, New Lucena and Sta. Barbara, Province of Iloilo. He had four
case, in order to avoid an injustice. children: Gloria, Zacariaz, Florentino and Alberta, all surnamed Zaragoza. On December 9,
A final word on collation of donations. We observe that after finding the donation to be 1964, he died without a will and was survived by his four children.
inofficious because Leoncio had no other property at the time of his death, the RTC On December 28, 1981, private respondent Alberta Zaragoza-Morgan filed a complaint
computed the legitime of Victor based on the area of the donated property. Hence, in its with the Court of First Instance of Iloilo against Spouses Florentino and Erlinda, herein
dispositive portion, it awarded a portion of the property to private respondents as Victors petitioners, for delivery of her inheritance share, consisting of Lots 943 and 871, and for
legitime. This was upheld by the Court of Appeals. payment of damages. She claims that she is a natural born Filipino citizen and the youngest
Our rules of succession require that before any conclusion as to the legal share due to a child of the late Flavio. She further alleged that her father, in his lifetime, partitioned the
compulsory heir may be reached, the following steps must be taken: (1) the net estate of the aforecited properties among his four children. The shares of her brothers and sister were
decedent must be ascertained, by deducting all the payable obligations and charges from the given to them in advance by way of deed of sale, but without valid consideration, while her
value of the property owned by the deceased at the time of his death; (2) the value of all share, which consists of lots no. 871 and 943, was not conveyed by way of deed of sale
donations subject to collation would be added to it.[24] then. She averred that because of her marriage, she became an American citizen and was
Thus, it is the value of the property at the time it is donated, and not the property itself, prohibited to acquire lands in the Philippines except by hereditary succession. For this
which is brought to collation. Consequently, even when the donation is found inofficious and reason, no formal deed of conveyance was executed in her favor covering these lots during
reduced to the extent that it impaired Victors legitime, private respondents will not receive a her father's lifetime.
corresponding share in the property donated. Thus, in this case where the collatable property Petitioners, in their Answer, admitted their affinity with private respondent and the
is an immovable, what may be received is: (1) an equivalent, as much as possible, in allegations on the properties of their father. They, however, denied knowledge of an alleged
property of the same nature, class and quality;[25] (2) if such is impracticable, the equivalent distribution by way of deeds of sale to them by their father. They said that lot 871 is still
value of the impaired legitime in cash or marketable securities;[26] or (3) in the absence of registered in their father's name, while lot 943 was sold by him to them for a valuable
cash or securities in the estate, so much of such other property as may be necessary, to be consideration. They denied knowledge of the alleged intention of their father to convey the
sold in public auction.[27] cited lots to Alberta, much more, the reason for his failure to do so because she became an
We believe this worth mentioning, even as we grant the petition on grounds of American citizen. They denied that there was partitioning of the estate of their father during
prescription and laches. his lifetime.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. CV No. 31976, On November 23, 1983, petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss, on the ground that the
affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 7646, is reversed complaint did not state a cause of action and it failed to implead indispensable parties. The
and set aside. No costs. resolution of said Motion was deferred by the lower court until the case was tried on the
merits.
SO ORDERED. On October 7, 1986, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo promulgated its decision, the
SPOUSES FLORENTINO ZARAGOZA and ERLINDA ENRIQUEZ- decretal portion of which reads:
ZARAGOZA, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,
ALBERTA ZARAGOZA MORGAN, respondents. WHEREFORE, in view of the above findings, judgment is hereby rendered, adjudicating Lot
871 in the name of Flavio Zaragoza Cano to plaintiff Alberta Zaragoza-Morgan as
DECISION appertaining her share in his estate and ordering defendants to vacate its premises and
deliver immediately the portion occupied by them to herein plaintiff. Plaintiff's claim against
QUISUMBING, J.: defendants over Lot 943 is dismissed as well as claims for damages interposed against each
other.[3]
44

In the above decision, the RTC found that Flavio partitioned his properties during his 4. THE SAID DEED OF SALE WAS EVEN WITNESSED BY HIS OTHER
lifetime among his three children by deeds of sales; that the conveyance of Lot 943 to DAUGHTER GLORIA ZARAGOZA NUEZ AND NOTARIZED BY NOTARY
petitioners was part of his plan to distribute his properties among his children during his PUBLIC ATTY. EDURESE.
lifetime; and that he intended Lot 871 to be the share of private respondent.[4]
Not satisfied with the above decision, both parties interposed an appeal in the Court of D. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN MODIFYING THE DECISION OF
Appeals docketed as CA -GR CV No. 12587. THE LOWER COURT WITH RESPECT TO LOT 943 WHEN THE LATTER
On March 27, 1992, respondent court rendered the assailed decision, the decretal SUSTAINED THE GENUINENESS OF THE SIGNATURE OF PETITIONER'S
portion of which reads: FATHER FOUND IN EXH. I.
E. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN APPLYING THE DOCTRINE OF ESTOPPEL,
WHEREFORE, WE reverse the decision appealed from, insofar as defendant-appellants, IGNORING THE FACT THAT IT IS THE LAW ON INTESTATE SUCCESSION, AND
spouses Florentino Zaragoza and Erlinda E. Zaragoza, were adjudged owner of Lot 943. In THE CORRESPONDING RULES OF COURT ON THE SETTLEMENT OF THE
all other respects, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED.[5] ESTATE THAT IS APPLICABLE ON THIS CASE.[10]

The appellate court gave weight to the testimonial and documentary evidence presented In their Supplemental Petition for Review dated October 29, 1992, petitioners
by private respondent to support its finding that Lots 871 and 943 were inheritance share of additionally raised:
private respondent. Specifically, it noted the admission by petitioner in his letter in 1981 to
private respondent's counsel, that their father had given them their inheritance. [6] Further, I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE
public respondent found that the alleged sale of lot 943 in favor of petitioner Florentino was COMPLAINT FILED BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A
fictitious and void. The signature of Don Flavio in the said document was markedly different CAUSE OF ACTION,
from his other signatures appearing in other documents he signed from January to February II. ALTERNATIVELY, THE COURT ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT LOTS
1957.[7] The Motion for Reconsideration was denied in a Resolution[8] dated June 26, 1992. TRANSFERRED INTER VIVOS TO THE OTHER HEIRS SHOULD HAVE BEEN
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari,[9] with a supplemental petition, raising the COLLATED TO THE MASS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED FLAVIO
following assigned errors: ZARAGOZA (y) CANO.
III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING AS LAWFUL
AND VALID ALL THE DISPOSITIONS MADE BY THE DECEASED FLAVIO
A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT LOTS 871 AND 943 ARE ZARAGOZA (y) CANO EXCEPT LOT # 943 DESPITE UTTER LACK OF
THE INHERITANCE SHARE OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ITS FINDING THAT THE SIGNATURE OF THE
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE DECEDENT FLAVIO ZARAGOZA LATE FLAVIO ZARAGOZA (y) CANO IN EXH. "M-11-A" APPEARING IN THE
HAS NOT EXECUTED ANY WILL NOR ANY DOCUMENT GIVING THESE TWO DEED OF SALE DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1957 (EXH. "1", FLORENTINO) WAS A
PROPERTIES IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT; FORGERY.
B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ADMITTING AND GIVING WEIGHT TO THE IV. THE COURT ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT TRANSFER
TESTIMONIES OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S WITNESSES TO THE EFFECT CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. T-35946 (EXHIBIT 2) COVERING LOT 943 IN
THAT LOTS 871 AND 943 ARE THE INHERITANCE SHARE OF PRIVATE FAVOR OF THE PETITIONER CONCLUSIVELY EVIDENCES THE LATTER'S
RESPONDENT AS TOLD TO THEM BY FLAVIO ZARAGOZA DESPITE THE FACT OWNERSHIP THEREOF.[11]
THAT THESE TESTIMONIES ARE HEARSAY;
C. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE DEED OF SALE Essentially, we are asked to resolve two issues: (1) whether the partition inter vivos by
EXECUTED BY FLAVIO ZARAGOZA IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER OVER LOT 943 Flavio Zaragoza Cano of his properties, which include Lots 871 and 943, is valid; and (2)
IS A FORGERY, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT: whether the validity of the Deed of Sale and consequently, the Transfer Certificate of Title
over Lot 943 registered in the name of the petitioners, can be a valid subject matter of the
1. THE THEORY THAT THE AFORESAID DEED OF SALE WAS A FORGERY entire proceeding for the delivery of inheritance share.
WAS NEVER RAISED IN THE COMPLAINT NOR ESTABLISHED BY On the first issue. It is the main contention of the petitioner that the adjudication of Lots
EVIDENCE. 943 and 871 in favor of private respondent, as her inheritance share, has no legal basis since
2. THE SAID DEED OF SALE WAS IN A PUBLIC INSTRUMENT. there is no will nor any document that will support the transfer.
3. NO WITNESSES WAS EVER PRESENTED TO ASSAIL THE GENUINENESS Both the trial court and the public respondent found that during the lifetime of Flavio, he
OF THE SIGNATURE OF FLAVIO ZARAGOZA. already partitioned and distributed his properties among his three children, excepting private
45

respondent, through deeds of sale. A deed of sale was not executed in favor of private certificate, in the absence of fraud, is the evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest
respondent because she had become an American citizen and the Constitution prohibited a of its owner. The title once registered, with very few exceptions, should not thereafter be
sale in her favor. Petitioner admitted Lots 871 and 943 were inheritance shares of the private impugned, altered, changed, modified, enlarged or diminished, except in some direct
respondent. These are factual determinations of the Court of Appeals, based on documentary proceeding permitted by law. Otherwise all security in registered titles would be lost. And
and testimonial evidence. As a rule, we are bound by findings of facts of the Court of in Co, we stated that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. The issue on the validity
Appeals.[12] Was the partition done during the lifetime of Flavio Zaragoza Cano valid? We of title, i.e., whether or not it was fraudulently issued, can only be raised in an action
think so. It is basic in the law of succession that a partition inter vivos may be done for as expressly instituted for that purpose.
long as legitimes are not prejudiced. Art. 1080 of the Civil Code is clear on this.[13] The ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the instant petition for
legitime of compulsory heirs is determined after collation, as provided for in Article 1061: review. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 27, 1992 in CA-G.R. CV No.
12587, entitled Alberta Zaragoza-Morgan vs. Spouses Florentino Zaragoza and Erlinda
Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass Enriquez-Zaragoza is VACATED and SET ASIDE. The complaint for delivery of inheritance
of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the share in the Regional Trial Court, for failure to implead indispensable parties, is also
lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title in order that it may be DISMISSED without prejudice to the institution of the proper proceedings.
computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Unfortunately, collation can not be done in this case where the original petition for delivery of
inheritance share only impleaded one of the other compulsory heirs. The petition must ISABELITA S. LAHOM, petitioner, vs. JOSE MELVIN SIBULO (previously referred to as
therefore be dismissed without prejudice to the institution of a new proceeding where all the DR. MELVIN S. LAHOM), respondent.
indispensable parties are present for the rightful determination of their respective legitime and
if the legitimes were prejudiced by the partitioning inter vivos. DECISION
We now come to the second issue. Private respondent, in submitting her petition for the
delivery of inheritance share, was in effect questioning the validity of the deed of sale VITUG, J.:
covering Lot 943 in favor of petitioner and consequently, the Transfer Certificate of Title
issued in the latter's name. Although the trial court, as an obiter, made a finding of validity of The bliss of marriage and family would be to most less than complete without
the conveyance of Lot 943 in favor of petitioners, since according to it, private respondent did children. The realization could have likely prodded the spouses Dr. Diosdado Lahom and
not question the genuineness of the signature of the deceased, nevertheless, when the case Isabelita Lahom to take into their care Isabelitas nephew Jose Melvin Sibulo and to bring him
was elevated to the Court of Appeals, the latter declared the sale to be fictitious because of up as their own. At the tender age of two, Jose Melvin enjoyed the warmth, love and support
finding of marked differences in the signature of Flavio in the Deed of Sale vis--vis signatures of the couple who treated the child like their own. Indeed, for years, Dr. and Mrs. Lahom
found in earlier documents. Could this be done? The petition is a collateral attack. It is not fancied on legally adopting Jose Melvin. Finally, in 1971, the couple decided to file a petition
allowed by Sec. 48 of the Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property for adoption. On 05 May 1972, an order granting the petition was issued that made all the
Registration Decree, which provides: more intense than before the feeling of affection of the spouses for Melvin. In keeping with
the court order, the Civil Registrar of Naga City changed the name Jose Melvin Sibulo to
Sec. 48. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. - A certificate of title shall not be subject to Jose Melvin Lahom.
collateral attack. It can not be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in A sad turn of events came many years later. Eventually, in December of 1999, Mrs.
accordance with law. Lahom commenced a petition to rescind the decree of adoption before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 22, of Naga City. In her petition, she averred -
We have reiterated this rule in the case of Halili vs. Court of Industrial Relations,[14] citing the
earlier cases of Constantino vs. Espiritu[15] and Co vs. Court of Appeals.[16] In Halili, we held 7. That x x x despite the proddings and pleadings of said spouses, respondent refused to
that a certificate of title accumulates in one document a precise and correct statement of the change his surname from Sibulo to Lahom, to the frustrations of petitioner particularly her
exact status of the fee held by its owner. The certificate, in the absence of fraud, is the husband until the latter died, and even before his death he had made known his desire to
evidence of title and shows exactly the real interest of its owner. The title once registered, revoke respondents adoption, but was prevented by petitioners supplication, however with his
with very few exceptions, should not thereafter be impugned, altered, changed, modified, further request upon petitioner to give to charity whatever properties or interest may pertain to
enlarged or diminished, except in some direct proceeding permitted by law. Otherwise, all respondent in the future.
security in registered titles would be lost. In Constantino, the Court decided that the
46

xxxxxxxxx Adoption, being in the best interest of the child, shall not be subject to rescission by
the adopter(s). However, the adopter(s) may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided
10. That respondent continued using his surname Sibulo to the utter disregard of the feelings in Article 919 of the Civil Code. (emphasis supplied)
of herein petitioner, and his records with the Professional Regulation Commission showed his
name as Jose Melvin M. Sibulo originally issued in 1978 until the present, and in all his Jose Melvin moved for the dismissal of the petition, contending principally (a) that the
dealings and activities in connection with his practice of his profession, he is Jose Melvin M. trial court had no jurisdiction over the case and (b) that the petitioner had no cause of action
Sibulo. in view of the aforequoted provisions of R.A. No. 8552. Petitioner asseverated, by way of
opposition, that the proscription in R.A. No. 8552 should not retroactively apply, i.e., to cases
xxxxxxxxx where the ground for rescission of the adoption vested under the regime of then Article
348[2] of the Civil Code and Article 192[3] of the Family Code.
In an order, dated 28 April 2000, the trial court held thusly:
13. That herein petitioner being a widow, and living alone in this city with only her household
helps to attend to her, has yearned for the care and show of concern from a son, but
respondent remained indifferent and would only come to Naga to see her once a year. On the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit, Section 5(c) of R.A. No. 8369
14. That for the last three or four years, the medical check-up of petitioner in Manila became confers jurisdiction to this Court, having been designated Family Court in A.M. No. 99-11-07
more frequent in view of a leg ailment, and those were the times when petitioner would need SC.
most the care and support from a love one, but respondent all the more remained callous and On the matter of no cause of action, the test on the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the
utterly indifferent towards petitioner which is not expected of a son. complaint, is whether or not, admitting the facts alleged, the Court could render a valid
15. That herein respondent has recently been jealous of petitioners nephews and nieces judgment in accordance with the prayer of said complaint (De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino, et
whenever they would find time to visit her, respondent alleging that they were only motivated al., 95 Phil. 365).
by their desire for some material benefits from petitioner. Admittedly, Section 19, Article VI of R.A. No. 8552 deleted the right of an adopter to rescind
16. That in view of respondents insensible attitude resulting in a strained and uncomfortable an adoption earlier granted under the Family Code. Conformably, on the face of the petition,
relationship between him and petitioner, the latter has suffered wounded feelings, knowing indeed there is lack of cause of action.
that after all respondents only motive to his adoption is his expectancy of his alleged rights Petitioner however, insists that her right to rescind long acquired under the provisions of the
over the properties of herein petitioner and her late husband, clearly shown by his recent Family Code should be respected. Assuming for the sake of argument, that petitioner is
filing of Civil Case No. 99-4463 for partition against petitioner, thereby totally eroding her love entitled to rescind the adoption of respondent granted on May 5, 1972, said right should have
and affection towards respondent, rendering the decree of adoption, considering respondent been exercised within the period allowed by the Rules. From the averments in the petition, it
to be the child of petitioner, for all legal purposes, has been negated for which reason there is appears clear that the legal grounds for the petition have been discovered and known to
no more basis for its existence, hence this petition for revocation.[1] petitioner for more than five (5) years, prior to the filing of the instant petition on December 1,
1999, hence, the action if any, had already prescribed. (Sec. 5, Rule 100 Revised Rules of
Court)
Prior to the institution of the case, specifically on 22 March 1998, Republic Act (R.A.) No.
8552, also known as the Domestic Adoption Act, went into effect. The new statute deleted WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing consideration, the petition is ordered dismissed. [4]
from the law the right of adopters to rescind a decree of adoption.
Section 19 of Article VI of R.A. No. 8552 now reads: Via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Court, petitioner
raises the following questions; viz:
SEC. 19. Grounds for Rescission of Adoption. Upon petition of the adoptee, with the 1. May the subject adoption, decreed on 05 May 1972, still be revoked or rescinded
assistance of the Department if a minor or if over eighteen (18) years of age but is by an adopter after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552?
incapacitated, as guardian/counsel, the adoption may be rescinded on any of the following 2. In the affirmative, has the adopters action prescribed?
grounds committed by the adopter(s): (a) repeated physical and verbal maltreatment by the
adopter(s) despite having undergone counseling; (b) attempt on the life of the adoptee; (c) A brief background on the law and its origins could provide some insights on the
sexual assault or violence; or (d) abandonment and failure to comply with parental subject. In ancient times, the Romans undertook adoption to assure male heirs in the
obligations. family.[5] The continuity of the adopters family was the primary purpose of adoption and all
matters relating to it basically focused on the rights of the adopter. There was hardly any
mention about the rights of the adopted.[6] Countries, like Greece, France, Spain and
England, in an effort to preserve inheritance within the family, neither allowed nor recognized
47

adoption.[7] It was only much later when adoption was given an impetus in law and still later of adoption and while on appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Family Code was enacted
when the welfare of the child became a paramount concern.[8] Spain itself which previously into law on 08 August 1988 disqualifying aliens from adopting Filipino children. The Republic
disfavored adoption ultimately relented and accepted the Roman law concept of adoption then prayed for the withdrawal of the adoption decree. In discarding the argument posed by
which, subsequently, was to find its way to the archipelago. The Americans came and the Republic, the Supreme Court ruled that the controversy should be resolved in the
introduced their own ideas on adoption which, unlike most countries in Europe, made the light of the law governing at the time the petition was filed.
interests of the child an overriding consideration.[9] In the early part of the century just passed, It was months after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552 that herein petitioner filed an action to
the rights of children invited universal attention; the Geneva Declaration of Rights of the Child revoke the decree of adoption granted in 1975. By then, the new law,[22] had already
of 1924 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,[10] followed by the United abrogated and repealed the right of an adopter under the Civil Code and the Family Code to
Nations Declarations of the Rights of the Child,[11] were written instruments that would also rescind a decree of adoption. Consistently with its earlier pronouncements, the Court should
protect and safeguard the rights of adopted children. The Civil Code of the Philippines[12] of now hold that the action for rescission of the adoption decree, having been initiated by
1950 on adoption, later modified by the Child and Youth Welfare Code [13] and then by the petitioner after R.A. No. 8552 had come into force, no longer could be pursued.
Family Code of the Philippines,[14] gave immediate statutory acknowledgment to the rights of Interestingly, even before the passage of the statute, an action to set aside the adoption
the adopted. In 1989, the United Nations initiated the Convention of the Rights of the is subject to the fiveyear bar rule under Rule 100 [23] of the Rules of Court and that the adopter
Child. The Philippines, a State Party to the Convention, accepted the principle that adoption would lose the right to revoke the adoption decree after the lapse of that period. The exercise
was impressed with social and moral responsibility, and that its underlying intent was geared of the right within a prescriptive period is a condition that could not fulfill the requirements of a
to favor the adopted child. R.A. No. 8552 secured these rights and privileges for the vested right entitled to protection. It must also be acknowledged that a person has no vested
adopted. Most importantly, it affirmed the legitimate status of the adopted child, not only in his right in statutory privileges.[24] While adoption has often been referred to in the context of a
new family but also in the society as well. The new law withdrew the right of an adopter to right, the privilege to adopt is itself not naturally innate or fundamental but rather a right
rescind the adoption decree and gave to the adopted child the sole right to sever the legal merely created by statute.[25] It is a privilege that is governed by the states determination on
ties created by adoption. what it may deem to be for the best interest and welfare of the child.[26] Matters relating to
Petitioner, however, would insist that R.A. No. 8552 should not adversely affect her right adoption, including the withdrawal of the right of an adopter to nullify the adoption decree, are
to annul the adoption decree, nor deprive the trial court of its jurisdiction to hear the case, subject to regulation by the State.[27] Concomitantly, a right of action given by statute may
both being vested under the Civil Code and the Family Code, the laws then in force. be taken away at anytime before it has been exercised.[28]
The concept of vested right is a consequence of the constitutional guaranty of due While R.A. No. 8552 has unqualifiedly withdrawn from an adopter a consequential right
process[15] that expresses a present fixed interest which in right reason and natural justice to rescind the adoption decree even in cases where the adoption might clearly turn out to be
is protected against arbitrary state action;[16] it includes not only legal or equitable title to the undesirable, it remains, nevertheless, the bounden duty of the Court to apply the law. Dura
enforcement of a demand but also exemptions from new obligations created after the right lex sed lex would be the hackneyed truism that those caught in the law have to live with. It is
has become vested.[17] Rights are considered vested when the right to enjoyment is a present still noteworthy, however, that an adopter, while barred from severing the legal ties of
interest,[18] absolute, unconditional, and perfect[19] or fixed and irrefutable. adoption, can always for valid reasons cause the forfeiture of certain benefits otherwise
In Republic vs. Court of Appeals,[20] a petition to adopt Jason Condat was filed by accruing to an undeserving child. For instance, upon the grounds recognized by law, an
Zenaida C. Bobiles on 02 February 1988 when the Child and Youth Welfare Code adopter may deny to an adopted child his legitime and, by a will and testament, may freely
(Presidential Decree No. 603) allowed an adoption to be sought by either spouse or both of exclude him from having a share in the disposable portion of his estate.
them. After the trial court had rendered its decision and while the case was still pending on WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. No costs.
appeal, the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209), mandating joint
adoption by the husband and wife, took effect. Petitioner Republic argued that the case SO ORDERED.
should be dismissed for having been filed by Mrs. Bobiles alone and without being joined by
the husband. The Court concluded that the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the JOSE BARITUA and EDGAR BITANCOR, petitioners,
statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action. The petition to adopt vs.
Jason, having been filed with the court at the time when P.D. No. 603 was still in HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, NICOLAS NACARIO and VICTORIA RONDA
effect, the right of Mrs. Bobiles to file the petition, without being joined by her husband, NACARIO, respondents.
according to the Court had become vested. In Republic vs. Miller,[21] spouses Claude and Domingo Lucenario for petitioners.
Jumrus Miller, both aliens, sought to adopt Michael Madayag. On 29 July 1988, the couple Ernesto A. Atienza for private respondents.
filed a petition to formalize Michaels adoption having theretofore been taken into their care. At SARMIENTO, J.:
the time the action was commenced, P.D. No. 603 allowed aliens to adopt. After the decree This petition for review on certiorari assails as erroneous and contrary to existing relevant
laws and applicable jurisprudence the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals dated December 11,
48

1987 which reversed and set aside that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XXXII, at Pili, the death of their son. Furthermore, the appellate court said that the petitioners "failed to
Camarines Sur. 2 The challenged decision adjudged the petitioners liable to the private rebut the testimony of the appellants (private respondents) that they were the ones who
respondents in the total amount of P20,505.00 and for costs. bought the tricycle that was damaged in the incident. Appellants had the burden of proof of
The facts are as follows: such fact, and they did establish such fact in their testimony . . . 11 Anent the funeral
In the evening of November 7, 1979, the tricycle then being driven by Bienvenido Nacario expenses, "(T)he expenses for the funeral were likewise shouldered by the appellants (the
along the national highway at Barangay San Cayetano, in Baao, Camarines Sur, figured in an private respondents). This was never contradicted by the appellees (petitioners). . . .
accident with JB Bus No. 80 driven by petitioner Edgar Bitancor and owned and operated by Payment (for these) were made by the appellants, therefore, the reimbursement must accrue
petitioner Jose Baritua. 3 As a result of that accident Bienvenido and his passenger died 4 and in their favor. 12
the tricycle was damaged. 5 No criminal case arising from the incident was ever instituted. 6 Consequently, the respondent appellate court ordered the petitioners to pay the private
Subsequently, on March 27, 1980, as a consequence of the extra-judicial settlement of the respondents P10,000.00 for the damage of the tricycle, P5,000.00 for "complete" funeral
matter negotiated by the petitioners and the bus insurer Philippine First Insurance services, P450.00 for cemetery lot, P55.00 for oracion adulto, and P5,000.00 for attorney's
Company, Incorporated (PFICI for brevity) Bienvenido Nacario's widow, Alicia Baracena fees. 13 The petitioners moved for
Vda. de Nacario, received P18,500.00. In consideration of the amount she received, Alicia a reconsideration of the appellate court's decision 14 but their motion was denied. 15 Hence,
executed on March 27, 1980 a "Release of Claim" in favor of the petitioners and PFICI, this petition.
releasing and forever discharging them from all actions, claims, and demands arising from The issue here is whether or not the respondent appellate court erred in holding that the
the accident which resulted in her husband's death and the damage to the tricycle which the petitioners are still liable to pay the private respondents the aggregate amount of P20,505.00
deceased was then driving. Alicia likewise executed an affidavit of desistance in which she despite the agreement of extrajudicial settlement between the petitioners and the victim's
formally manifested her lack of interest in instituting any case, either civil or criminal, against compulsory heirs.
the petitioners. 7 The petition is meritorious.
On September 2, 1981, or about one year and ten months from the date of the accident on Obligations are extinguished by various modes among them being by payment. Article 1231
November 7, 1979, the private respondents, who are the parents of Bienvenido Nacario, filed of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides:
a complaint for damages against the petitioners with the then Court of First Instance of Art. 1231. Obligations are extinguished:
Camarines Sur. 8 In their complaint, the private respondents alleged that during the vigil for (1) By payment or performance;
their deceased son, the petitioners through their representatives promised them (the private (2) By the loss of the thing due;
respondents) that as extra-judicial settlement, they shall be indemnified for the death of their (3) By the condonation or remission of the debt;
son, for the funeral expenses incurred by reason thereof, and for the damage for the tricycle (4) By the confusion or merger of the rights of creditor and debtor;
the purchase price of which they (the private respondents) only loaned to the victim. The (5) By compensation;
petitioners, however, reneged on their promise and instead negotiated and settled their (6) By novation.
obligations with the long-estranged wife of their late son. The Nacario spouses prayed that (Emphasis ours.)
the defendants, petitioners herein, be ordered to indemnify them in the amount of P25,000.00 There is no denying that the petitioners had paid their obligation petition arising from the
for the death of their son Bienvenido, P10,000.00 for the damaged tricycle, P25,000.00 for accident that occurred on November 7, 1979. The only question now is whether or not Alicia,
compensatory and exemplary damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, and for moral the spouse and the one who received the petitioners' payment, is entitled to it.
damages. 9 Article 1240 of the Civil Code of the Philippines enumerates the persons to whom payment to
After trial, the court a quo dismissed the complaint, holding that the payment by the extinguish an obligation should be made.
defendants (herein petitioners) to the widow and her child, who are the preferred heirs and Art 1240. Payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the obligation
successors-in-interest of the deceased Bienvenido to the exclusion of his parents, the has been constituted, or his successor in interest, or any person authorized
plaintiffs (herein private respondents), extinguished any claim against the defendants to receive it.
(petitioners). 10 Certainly there can be no question that Alicia and her son with the deceased are the
The parents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the judgment of the trial court. successors in interest referred to in law as the persons authorized to receive payment. The
The appellate court ruled that the release executed by Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario did Civil Code states:
not discharge the liability of the petitioners because the case was instituted by the private Article 887. The following are compulsory heirs:
respondents in their own capacity and not as "heirs, representatives, successors, and 1. Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate
assigns" of Alicia; and Alicia could not have validly waived the damages being prayed for (by parents and ascendants;
the private respondents) since she was not the one who suffered these damages arising from
49

2. In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants with respect parties, the Honorable Percy M. Moir, judge, found that the will had been signed and
to their legitimate children and decendants; executed in accordance with the provisions of law, and denied the opposition on the 17th day
3. The widow or widower; of September, 1910.
4. Acknowledged natural children and natural children by legal fiction; On the 18th day of September, 1910, the said Tomas Lorayes, representing Basiliso
5. Other illegitimate children referred to in Article 287. Mediavillo and Rosario Mediavillo, presented a motion in the words following:
Compulsory heirs mentioned in Nos. 3, 4 and 5 are not excluded by those in 1. That Rosario Mediavillo is and Joaquin Mediavillo was a legitimate child of the
Nos. 1 and 2. Neither do they exclude one another. (Emphasis ours.) deceased Teresa Pecson, who also was a daughter of the testator, Florencio
Article 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the Pecson, and therefore the first mentioned is and the second was a grandchild of the
deceased, his parents and ascendants shall inherit from him, to the exclusion latter.
of collateral relatives. 2. That the said granddaughter, Rosario Mediavillo y Pecson, was disinherited by her
(Emphasis ours.) grandfather, the testator Florencio Pecson, according to clause 3 of the will, because
It is patently clear that the parents of the deceased succeed only when the latter dies without she failed to show him due respect and on a certain occasion raised her hand against
a legitimate descendant. On the other hand, the surviving spouse concurs with all classes of him.
heirs. As it has been established that Bienvenido was married to Alicia and that they begot a 3. That the interested party did not commit such an act, and if perhaps she did, it was
child, the private respondents are not successors-in-interest of Bienvenido; they are not due to the derangement of her mental faculties which occurred a long time ago and
compulsory heirs. The petitioners therefore acted correctly in settling their obligation with from which she now suffers in periodical attacks.
Alicia as the widow of Bienvenido and as the natural guardian of their lone child. This is so By reason of all the foregoing and because the disinheriting clause 3 of the will is
even if Alicia had been estranged from Bienvenido. Mere estrangement is not a legal ground unfounded, the undersigned prays the court to annul the said clause and to make the
for the disqualification of a surviving spouse as an heir of the deceased spouse. testator's died without succession, but is represented now by his father, Basiliso
Neither could the private respondents, as alleged creditors of Bienvenido, seek relief and Mediavillo), participants in the estate left by their grandfather; and, finally, that the
compensation from the petitioners. While it may be true that the private respondents loaned court grant such other relief as it may deem just and equitable.
to Bienvenido the purchase price of the damaged tricycle and shouldered the expenses for After a consideration of the question presented by said motion, the lower court, on the 22d
his funeral, the said purchase price and expenses are but money claims against the estate of day of September, 1911, rendered the following decision:
their deceased son. 16 These money claims are not the liabilities of the petitioners who, as we This case has come up to-day for a hearing on the declaration of heirs of the
have said, had been released by the agreement of the extra-judicial settlement they decease Florencio Pecson, who died in Daraga, about the year 1910.
concluded with Alicia Baracena Vda. de Nacario, the victim's widow and heir, as well as the From the evidence it appears that the deceased had eight children by his wife
natural guardian of their child, her co-heir. As a matter of fact, she executed a "Release Of Nicolasa Manjares, likewise deceased, which children are those named
Claim" in favor of the petitioners. Emerenciano, Teresa, Filomena, Asunsion, Rufino, Zoila, Emiliano, and Perfecto, all
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED surnamed Pecson. It also appears that Rufino Pecson absented himself from these
and SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby REINSTATED. Costs Islands twenty-five years ago, going to Australia, and that nothing has been heard of
against the private respondents. him for the past twenty years. The said Rufino Pecson left no children in the
SO ORDERED. Philippines and was unmarried when he emigrated. As nothing has been heard of
FILOMENA PECSON, as administratix of the last will and testament of Florencio him for twenty years, it is presumed that he died and it is held that the part of this
Pecson, et al., plaintiffs-appellants, estate to which he was entitled must be divided among the other heirs.
vs. It also appears from the evidence that Teresa Pecson married Basiliso Mediavillo, by
ROSARIO MEDIAVILLO, defendant-appellee. whom she had two children, Joaquin and Rosario Mediavillo. Teresa also died,
S. E. Imperial for appellants. leaving these two children and her husband, Basiliso Mediavillo. Her son Joaquin
Tomas Lorayes for appellee. died, unmarried and childless, before the death of the testator, Florencio Pecson.
JOHNSON, J.: Rosario is the only living daughter of Teresa and the latter's husband, Basiliso
It appears from the record that some time prior to the 17th day of September, 1910, the last Mediavillo, is also living. The evidence shows that this girl Rosario became insane in
will and testament of Florencio Pecson was presented to the Court of First Instance of the 1895, when she went to Nueva Caceres to study in college, and it has been proved
Province of Albay for probate. Mr. Tomas Lorayes, an attorney at law, opposed the legislation that it was previous to this date that she disobeyed her grandfather and raised her
of the will on the ground that it had not been authorized nor signed by the deceased, in hand against him, and, as the testator states in the third paragraph of his will, he
accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. After hearing the respective disinherited her. This court understands that this Rosario, who was then 14 years of
50

age, and who shortly afterwards became insane, was not responsible for her acts paragraph 3 of the will. That order of the lower court constitutes the error complained of by
and should not have been disinherited by her grandfather. the appellant in her first assignment of error.
The court therefore decrees that this part of the will is contrary to law and sets it By reference to said paragraph 3 above quoted, it will be seen that Florencio Pecson
aside as being of no force or value whatever. The court further holds that Rosario disinherited the said Rosario Mediavillo "because she was grossly disrespectful to me and
Mediavillo, the daughter of Teresa Pecson, is the heiress of the one-half of the share because on one occasion, when it was I do not remember, she raised her hand against me.
of this estate pertaining to the said Teresa, and that her father, as the heir of his son Therefore it is my will that she, the said Rosario Mediavillo, shall have no share in my
Joaquin, also Teresa's son, is the heris of the other one-half of the said share property."
pertaining to Teresa that is, of the one-seventh of this estate that pertains to the The lower court admitted proof the question of the responsibility of the said Rosario
latter. Moreover, the court decrees that, besides the two heirs just above mentioned, Mediavillo at the time she offered the offense to her grandfather, Florencio Pecson. After
Emerciano, Filomena, Asuncion, Zoila, Emiliano, and Perfecto, surnamed Pecson, hearing the proof, the lower court reached the following conclusion:
and the children of Teresa, are also heirs of the estate of Florencio Pecson. The evidence shows that this girl Rosario became insane in 1895, when she went to
From the decision the plaintiff appealed to this court and made the following assignments of Nueva Caceres to study in college, and it has been proved that it was previous to this
error: date that she disobeyed her grandfather and raised her hand against him, and, as the
FIRST ERROR testator states in the third paragraph of his will, he disinherited her. This court
The lower court erred in finding that the part of the will which disinherits Rosario understands that this Rosario, who was then 14 years of age, and who shortly
Mediavillo is contrary to law, and in setting it aside as being of no force or value afterwards became insane, was not responsible for her acts and should not have
whatever. been disinherited by her grandfather.
SECOND ERROR The first assignment of error presents the question whether or not the courts, when a parent
The lower court erred by decreeing that Basaliso Mediavillo, the father of Joaquin disinherits his children, may inquire into the cause of the disinheritance and decide that there
Mediavillo, is the heir by representation of the one-half of the one seventh of this was or was not ground for such disinheritance. The Civil Code (art. 848) provides that
estate pertaining to Joaquin Mediavillo. disinheritance shall only take place for one of the causes expressly fixed by law. In
With reference to the first assignment of error it may be said that from the record it appears accordance with the provisions of that article (848) we find that articles 756 and 853 provide
that during the lifetime of Florencio Pecson he had been married to Nicolasa Manjares, with the cases or causes for disinheritance; or, in other words, the cases or causes in which the
whom he had eight children, named Filomena, Asuncion, Zoila, Emerenciano, Emiliano, ancestors may by will disinherit their heirs. Article 849 of the Civil Code provides that the
Perfecto, Rufino and Teresa Pecson; that before the death of Florencio Pecson he executed disinheritance can only be effected by the testament, in which shall be mentioned the legal
and delivered the will in question. The will made no provision for the said Rufino Pecson, grounds or causes for such disinheritance. If it is true that heirs can be disinherited only by
neither was there any provision in the will for the said Teresa. All of the other children were will, and for causes mentioned in the Civil Code, it would seen to follow that the courts might
named as heirs in said will. It appears that Teresa had been married with one Basiliso properly inquire whether the disinheritance has been made properly and for the causes
Mediavillo, and that some time before the making of the will in question she died, leaving her provided for by law. The right of the courts to inquire into the causes and whether there was
husband and two children, Joaquin Mediavillo and Rosario Mediavillo, as her heirs. It also sufficient cause for the disinheritance or not, seems to be supported by express provisions of
appears from the record that Joaquin Mediavillo died without heirs, leaving as the only heirs the Civil Code. Article 850 provides that "the proof of the truthfulness of the reason for
of the said Teresa Pecson, her husband, Basilio Mediavillo and the said Rosario Mediavillo. disinheritance shall be established by the heirs of the testator, should the disinherited person
The said Joaquin Mediavillo died before his grandfather, Florencio Pecson, and probably deny it." It would appear then that if the person disinherited should deny the truthfulness of
before the will in question was made. the cause of disinheritance, he might be permitted to support his allegation by proof. The right
Paragraph 3 of the will disinherited Rosario Mediavillo in the following language: of the court to inquire whether or not the disinheritance was made for just cause is also
I declare that one of my daughters, named Teresa, now deceased, left a legitimate sustained by the provisions of article 851, which in part provides that:
daughter named Rosario Mediavillo. I also declare that I disinherit my granddaughter, Disinheritance made without statement of the reason, or for a cause the truth of
the said Rosario Mediavillo, because she was grossly disrespectful to me and which, if contradicted, should not be proven . . . shall annul the designation of
because on one occasion, when it was I do not remember, she raised her hand heirship, in so far as it prejudices the person disinherited.
against me. Therefore, it is my will that the said Rosario Mediavillo shall have no It seems clear from the above-quoted provisions, that the courts may inquire into the justice
share in my property. of a disinheritance such as was attempted in the present case, and if they find that the
The defendant, Rosario Mediavillo, in the motion which she presented and which is copied disinheritance was without cause, that part of the testament or will may be pronounced null
above, alleges that she was disinherited without case. Upon a consideration of that question, and void. It remains, however, to be seen whether the evidence adduced during the trial of
the lower court found that she had been disinherited without cause and annulled said the present cause was sufficient to show that the disinheritance made in paragraph 3 of the
51

will was made for just cause. It appears from the record that when Rosario Mediavillo was given to Joaquin Mediavillo, had he been surviving, is hereby revoked. And without any
about 14 years of age, she had received some attentions from a young man that she had findings as to costs, it is hereby ordered that the cause be remanded to the lower court, with
received a letter from him and that her grandfather, Florencio Pecson, took occasion to direction that judgment be entered in accordance herewith, and that such further proceedings
talk to her about the relations between her and the said young man; that it was upon that be had as the interested parties may deem necessary, for the purpose of disposing of that
occasion when, it is alleged, the disobedience and disrespect were shown to her grandfather, part of the inheritance of Teresa Pecson would have belonged to Joaquin Mediavillo, had he
and that was the cause for her disinheritance by her grandfather. The record shows that very been surviving.
soon after said event she lost the use of her mental powers and that she has never regained Torres, Carson, and Moreland, JJ., concur.
them, except for very brief periods, up to the present time. The lower court, taking into
consideration her tender years, and the fact that she very soon thereafter lost the use of her Trusteeship of the Estate of BENIGNO DIAZ Y HEREDIA, deceased. BANK OF THE
mental faculties, reached the conclusion that she was probably not responsible for the PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, trustee.
disrespect and disobedience shown to her grandfather in the year 1894 or 1895.
After a careful consideration of the record, we are inclined to believe that the same supports SOLEDAD ROBLES, ET AL., Petitioners-Appellees, v. ISABEL MANAHAN DE
the conclusions of the lower court and that the same supports the conclusions of the lower SANTIAGO and NESTOR M. SANTIAGO, Oppositors-Appellants.
court that he did not commit the error complained of in the first assignment of error.
With reference to the second assignment of error, it will be remembered that Teresa Pecson, Quijano & Azores for Appellants.
the mother of Rosario Mediavillo, at the time of her death left two children, Rosario and
Joaquin, and her husband Basiliso Mediavillo, and that said Joaquin Mediavillo died without Alejandro M. Panis for Appellees.
heirs. The lower court gave one-half of the inheritance of the said Teresa Pecson to Rosario
Mediavillo and the share that would have gone to Joaquin Mediavillo, and the share that
would have gone to Joaquin Mediavillo, to his father Basiliso Mediavillo. In that conclusion of SYLLABUS
the lower court we think error was committed. The appellant relies upon the provisions of
article 925 of the Civil Code, in his contention that the lower court committed an error. Article
925 provides that: 1. TRUSTS; ENJOYMENT OF LEGACIES FOR ENTIRE DURATION OF TRUST ESTATE;
The right of representation shall always take place in the direct descending line, but LEGACIES VIEWED AS WHOLE, CONTINUING OBLIGATION ALTHOUGH RENTALS ARE
never in the ascending. In collateral lines, it shall take place only in favor of the DELIVERED MONTHLY. Where the testator intended the enjoyment by the legatees of
children of brothers or sisters, whether they be of the whole or half blood. their respective legacies for the entire duration of the trust estate, the legacies should be
The appellee, in support of the conclusions of the lower court, cites articles 935 and 936 of viewed as one whole, continuing obligation, to be carried out by the trustee. The fact that the
the Civil Code. Article 935 provides that: rentals on the property are to be delivered monthly, did not make each delivery a separate,
In the absence of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his distinct prestation, or render the obligation divisible, for to treat it as such would destroy or
ascendants shall inherit from him, to the exclusion of collaterals. alter the essence of the legacy.
Article 936 provides that:
The father and mother, if living shall inherits share and share alike. If one of them 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGATEES ENTITLED TO SHARE IN RENTALS DURING LIQUIDATION OF
only survive, he or she shall succeed to the son's entire estate. TRUSTEESHIP. The trust in the case at bar was created to carry out the dispositions
It will be remembered that the whole argument of the appellants with reference to the first made in the will, principally the payment of the legacies. The codicil provides that after the
assignment of error was that Rosario Mediavillo had been disinherited and the court evidently lapse of ten or fifteen years from the date of the testators death, the properties may be sold
believed that there were no "legitimate children, descendants of the deceased, surviving," upon agreement of all the legatees, and the proceeds of the sale, after deducting certain
and that therefore the father or mother of said legitimate children would inherit as amounts, are to be distributed in the manner indicated therein. The approval by the court of
ascendants. Inasmuch, however, as there was a descendant in the direct line, surviving, the the petition to sell did not, therefore, automatically terminate the trusteeship, nor did it
inheritance could not ascend, and for the reason the lower court committed an error in constitute full accomplishment of the trust. It was only after the actual sale of the properties
declaring that Basiliso Mediavillo was entitled to inherit that share of the estate that would and the distribution of the proceeds directed by the testator, that the trust could be
have belonged to Joaquin Mediavillo, had he been living. Therefore, and for all the foregoing, considered as accomplished and terminated. Consequently, the legatees are entitled to their
that part of the judgment of the lower court nullifying and setting aside paragraph 3 of the will share of the rentals during the liquidation of the trusteeship.
is hereby affirmed, and that art of said judgment which decrees to Basiliso Mediavillo one-half
of the estate of Florencio Pecson, belonging to Teresa Pecson and which would have been 3. ID.; PAYMENT OF EXPENSES; PROVISIONS OF WILL TO BE RESPECTED. Where
52

the will imposes on the legatees merely the payment of the real estate property tax and
expenses for the preservation of a specified property of the estate, and it is evident from the In the will, a trust estate was created out of the properties not otherwise disposed of, of which
will and the codicil that the testator intended the expenses incidental to the execution of his the Bank of the Philippine Islands was designated as Trustee.
will to be defrayed and deductible from the residuary estate, in the absence of valid and
cogent reasons, the provisions of the will as to how the expenses would be satisfied, must be After the death of his wife, Da. Rafaela Mercado y Beleti on August 8, 1944, Diaz, then still
respected. living, caused the preparation of a codicil (to his will), dated September 29, 1944, providing,
inter alia
4. PRESCRIPTION OF ACTIONS; CLAIM BASED UPON SPECIFIC LEGACY CONTAINED
IN PROBATED WILL; PRESCRIPTION IN TEN YEARS. A claim based upon a specific "10.o Transcurridos diez o quince aos despues de mi muerte todas mis propiedades,
legacy contained in a probated will, is an obligation based upon a judgment and as such muebles e inmuebles, derechos y acciones, cuando asi convenga a los legatarios y los
prescribes in 10 years. precios sean ventajosos, pueden proceder a la venta de todos, dando preferencia a los
legatarios y de su importe total se deducieran mil pesos (P1,000.00) para los cuatro hijos de
mi difunto hermano Fabian, todos los gastos y reservando una cantidad suficiente y bien
DECISION calculada para sufragar los gastos para otros diez aos para las mandas y misas. El resto se
distribuira a las siguientes personas que aun viven, o a sus descendientes
legitimos:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
BARRERA, J.:
A Isabel M. de Santiago Cincuenta por ciento (50%); Los hijos de Domingo Legarda
Treinta por ciento (30%); Filomena Diaz Diez por ciento (10%); Nestor M. Santiago
Benigno Diaz y Heredia, in his will dated July 5, 1944, provided, among others, the Diez por ciento (10%).
following:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
11.o Es aplicable a este codicilo, mutatis mutandi, el Parrafo 7.o, Pag. 6 de mi
"B Lego la renta liquida mensual, deducidos el amillaramiento y otros gastos testamento."cralaw virtua1aw library
indispensables para la conservacin de la finca situada en (Pagina Segunda) la calle Rosario
Nos. 123, 125, 127 y 129, Binondo, Manila, la proporcin que me corresponde y la de mi The testator died on November 7, 1944, and his will and the codicil were accordingly
esposa Da. Rafaela que representa la mitad, a las siguientes personas:chanrob1es virtual probated (in Sp. Proc. No. 894).
1aw library
On November 1, 1949, the Bank of the Philippine Islands was appointed Trustee of the trust
A Domingo Legarda Veinte por ciento (20%) Soledad Robles Diez por ciento (10%) created by the testator in his will and codicil (in Sp. Proc. No. 9226, Trusteeship of Benigno
Paz Legarda y Robles Veinte por ciento (20%) Pilar Legarda y Robles Quince por Diaz), for the purpose of paying the monthly and yearly legacies of the legatees named
ciento (15%) Jos Legarda y Robles Diez por ciento (10%) Vicente Legarda y Robles therein, to which office it duly qualified.
Diez por ciento (10%) Angeles Legarda y Robles para su hija Leti Cinco por ciento (5%) y
Colegio de la Consolacin de las M.M. Agustinas Diez por ciento (10%). Pursuant to the terms of the codicil, and 10 years having already elapsed from the testators
x x x death on November 7, 1944, the Trustee, on January 13, 1955, petitioned the court, with the
consent of all the legatees, for authority to sell all the properties and liquidate the estate. This
petition was granted. Accordingly, the property located at Rosario, Binondo, Manila, was sold
(Pagina Sexta) to legatee Isabel Manahan de Santiago on March 18, 1955.
x x x
Immediately thereafter, or on March 21 of the same year, legatees Soledad Robles and her
children Pilar, Jose, Vicente and Angeles, all surnamed Legarda (her husband Domingo and
"Septimo. Cualquier legatario que impugna sin xito la legalizacin de este testamento, o daughter Paz died in 1945) filed a motion praying that the trustee be ordered to deliver to
que no respete cualquiera disposicin del mismo una vez legalizado, perdera su derecho al them in accordance with the provisions of the will, 90 per cent of the rentals collected from
legado y a cualquier beneficio a su favor. El legado y beneficios a su favor engrosaran el the property in Rosario during the period of liquidation of the estate, that is, from January 13
fondo de la testamentaria al principio y del fideicomiso despues."cralaw virtua1aw library to March 18, 1955 which the Trustee refused to deliver, the latter contending that upon the
53

authorization by the court on January 19, 1955, of the sale of the properties, the trusteeship total de la venta debera invertirse en la compra de otra finca de buenas condiciones que
ceased already and the rentals collected thereafter not only from the Rosario property but produscan una renta segura igual o mas que la finca de la Calle Rosario. El deseo mio es
also from all other properties of the estate, constitute the mass of the residuary estate to be que los legatarios sigan recibiendo sus legados. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
distributed among the legatees in accordance with the terms of the codicil, i.e., only 30 per
cent and not 90 per cent to the heirs of Domingo Legarda (supra). And in his codicil, appears the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

On April 11, 1955, appellees Soledad Robles and children filed a second motion likewise . . . En relacin con esta finca de la Calle Rosario repito que se conserva y no se venda
claiming 90 per cent of the rentals from the Rosario property from 1946 to 1949 which had mientras sea posible, pero en el caso imprescindible de realizar la venta, se procurara
not yet been paid to them. The Trustee Bank countered that said rentals were liable first to conseguir el mejor precio posible y que cuyo importe se invierta ya por intereses en un
the payment of the expenses of the Testate Estate of Rafaela Mercado, the Testate Estate of hipoteca segura y ventajosa o ya por alquileres de otra buena finca que se adquiera y que
Benigno Diaz, and the Trusteeship of Benigno Diaz before they could be distributed; that produzca una renta mayor. . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
movants, having agreed not to collect the proceeds of their legacies from 1946 to 1949, they
were estopped from claiming the same; and that the right to claim said legacies from 1946 to From the above-quoted testamentary provisions, it seems clear that the testator intended the
1949, had already prescribed. enjoyment by the legatees, of their respective legacies for the entire duration of the trust
estate, even when the specified properties are sold, the proceeds of which have been
After due hearing on the matter, the court issued a resolution dated May 24, 1955, granting directed to be invested in mortgages with interest, or in the purchase of other rental-bearing
both motions and directing the Trustee to deliver to Soledad Robles and children, their shares properties. The legacies should, therefore, be viewed as one whole, continuing obligation, to
in the rentals collected from the Rosario property, during both periods, from 1946 to 1949 and be carried out by the trustee. The fact that the rentals are to be delivered monthly, did not
from January 19 to March 18, 1955, after deducting therefrom the real estate tax, the make each delivery a separate, distinct prestation, or render the obligation divisible, for to
indispensable expenses for the conservation of the property, and the corresponding estate treat it as such, would destroy or alter the essence of the legacy. Considering that the
and inheritance taxes. From this resolution, the present appeal was interposed by legatees obligation terminated upon the sale of the said property on March 18, 1955, the demand for
Isabel Manahan de Santiago, Et Al., who, in the distribution of the residuary estate, would get the complete delivery of the inheritance made in April, 1955, has not yet prescribed. Besides,
50 per cent according to the codicil. as contended by the appellees the claim is based upon a specific legacy contained in a
probated will. Hence, it is an obligation based upon a judgment (the will becomes binding
As may be seen from the provisions of the will quoted above, the legacies given to appellees upon probate) and the prescription period is 10 years.
Soledad Robles and her children were not made subject to any condition; hence, the right
thereto passed to the said legatees upon the death of the testator 1 on November 7, 1944. As Appellants also contend that, having received their share in the rentals and agreed to the
the Rosario property (land only, the building having been burned during the battle for approval of the Trustees statement of accounts, appellees are now estopped from claiming
liberation of Manila) was leased from November 4, 1946 to March 18, 1955, it follows that the for additional share. This allegation was countered by appellees by claiming that they merely
legatees were entitled to their share of the rentals for the duration of the said period. Since desisted from pressing the collection of their shares for 1946 to 1949, by reason of the
they have already been paid their share from November, 1949 to January 19, 1955, the only Trustees representation that the money would be needed for expense of administration, and
question now to be resolved is whether said legatees-appellees may still demand their share assurance that they would be paid before the division of the residuary estate among the
of the rentals from November 4, 1946 to October, 1949, and from January 20 to March 18, heirs. Clearly, the matter calls for a determination of whether or not such agreement took
1955. place a question of fact which this Court may not legally pass upon. And since the trial
court inferentially rejected this contention of appellants and the latter, having appealed
Against appellees demand for the rentals during the period 1946- 1949, appellants first set directly to us on purely legal issues, appellants should be deemed to have waived this
up the defense of prescription, alleging that, being money-claim, the claim should have been defense. 2
made within 4 years. And, as the demand was made only in 1955, it was argued the same
was already barred. It was also alleged that the appellees filing of an opposition to the probate of the will caused
the forfeiture of their right to the legacies. This contention is similarly unmeritorious.
The testator specifically provided in his will:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
True it may be, that under the will, the unsuccessful opposition, by any legatee, to the
"G. . . . La finca motivo del legado arriba descrito, deberan conservarse indefinidamente probate of the will and non-compliance with its provisions after the probate shall cause the
siempre que sea posible, pero en al imprescindible caso de ser necesario vender, el importe forfeiture of his right thereunder. It is also true that appellees counsel filed an opposition to
54

the probate of the will on January 24, 1946. However, the same was withdrawn by the paid according to the provisions of the will; but if the provision made by the will or the estate
appellees themselves personally soon thereafter, or on March 1, 1946, and the will was appropriated, is not sufficient for that purpose, such part of the estate of the testator, real or
finally probated on April 1, 1948. Appellees having voluntarily desisted from their opposition personal, as is not disposed of by the will, if any, shall be appropriated for that purpose."
long before the probate of the will and, apparently, even before presentation of evidence on (Rule 89.)
the part of the proponent, such an opposition could not have been the opposition
contemplated in the will, as otherwise the provision prohibiting opposition would be null and There is nothing on record to show that the provisions made by the testator in the will are
void. inadequate to cover the expenses of administration. On the contrary, it appears that as of the
date of the filing of appellees demand, there were still properties of the estate yet unsold. In
The ruling of the court a quo, subjecting the legacies to the payment only of real estate tax, the absence of valid and cogent reasons, the provision of the will as to how the expenses
necessary expenses for conservation of the property, and for estate and inheritance taxes, would be satisfied must be respected.
was also assailed on the invoked ground that the legacies, under Section 1, Rule 91, of the
Rules of Court, should be distributed after deducting therefrom the corresponding share in In the belief that the courts order of January 19, 1955, allowing the sale of the properties of
the charges, taxes, and expenses of administration. the estate, had the effect of terminating the trust and putting an end to the legatees right to
the fruits of the Rosario property, appellants contend that appellees claim over rentals
The will, it must be remembered, imposed on the legatees merely the payment of the real terminated on said date, hence, appellees are not entitled to the rentals from January 20 to
estate tax and expenses for the preservation of the Rosario property, and no other. On the March 18, 1955, date when the Rosario property was actually sold. This is equally without
other hand, said will and the codicil thereto, respectively, provide:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph merit. The trust has been created to carry out the dispositions made in the will, principally the
payment of the legacies. The codicil provides that after the lapse of ten or fifteen years (sic)
"Sexta. Todas las demas propiedades, derechos y acciones que no aparecen dispuestas from the date of the testators death (November 7, 1944), the properties may be sold upon
en este mi testamento y ltima voluntad, o que yo adquiera en lo futuro, estaran a cargo del agreement of all the legatees and the proceeds of the sale, after deducting certain amounts,
fideicomisario por mis encargos y lo que pueda quedarse de los frutos, en beneficio de los are to be distributed in the manner indicated therein. The approval of the petition to sell did
legatarios mencionados por mi este mi testamento, en partes iguales, o de sus respectivos not automatically terminate the trusteeship, nor did it constitute full accomplishment of the
herederos por stirpes, despus de deducir los gastos de la administracin."cralaw virtua1aw trust. It was only after the actual sale of the properties on March 18, 1955, and the distribution
library of the proceeds directed by the testator that the trust could be considered as accomplished
and terminated. Consequently, the appellees are entitled to their share of the rentals during
"3. Es mi deaseo que, con la intervencin del Sr. Vicente Santiago, todos los intereses y the liquidation of the trusteeship from January 20 to March 18, 1955.
otros ingresos de la testamentaria of fideicomiso despus de deducir los gastos
imprescindibles se distribuye el 31 de Diciembre de cada ao a las siguientes Wherefore, in view of the foregoing considerations, the resolution appealed from, is hereby
personas:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library affirmed, in toto, with costs against the appellants. So ordered.
x x x
Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcin, Reyes, J.B.L., Gutierrez David, and
Dizon, JJ., concur.
La distribucin que precede es completamente independiente de las pensiones de la renta
de la finca en la Calle Rosario y se hara despus de separar un fondo de reserva para los
gastos de impuesto y gastos de conservacin de las fincas, en particular de la Calle Rosario. BRENDA J. DEBUQUE, ESTRELLA L. JAVELONA, ROSENDO L. JAVELONA JR.,
(Italics supplied.) ARTURO L. JAVELONA, YSMAEL L. JAVELONA, VIVIAN L. JAVELONA, ROBERTO L.
JAVELONA and EDUARDO L. JAVELONA, Petitioners, vs. HONORABLE RAFAEL
It is evident therefrom that the testator intended the expenses incidental to the execution of CLIMACO, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Silay City, Negros Occidental,
his will to be defrayed and deductible from the residuary estate, excluding the rents from the RENATO JAVELONA, EDNA JAVELONA, EDMUNDO JAVELONA, ERLINDA
Rosario property. On this point, the Rules of Court provide:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph JAVELONA, and LILIA LIBOON, Judicial Guardian for the Minors, CAMILO JAVELONA,
BONITO JAVELONA, BELENDA JAVELONA, ARMANDO JAVELONA and EDWIN
"SEC. 2. Part of estate from which debts paid where provision made by will. If the JAVELONA, Respondents.
testator makes provision by his will, or designates the estate to be appropriated for the MAKASIAR, J.:
payment of his debts, the expenses of administration, or the family expenses, they shall be
55

Petition for certiorari to review the order dated February 15, 1969 of the Court of First rec.]. These two orders, which had both become final were later clarified in the challenged
Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch I of Silay City, distributing the balance of the intestate order of Feb 15, 1969 (pp. 1190-1192, CFI rec.), which also ordered the distribution of the
estate of the late Rosendo Javelona Sr. in Special Proceeding No. 270 (6688) entitled residuary estate consisting of P54,669.39 deposited in the Philippine Commercial and
"Intestate Estate of the late Rosendo Javelona Sr., Rosendo Javelona Jr., Administrator," Industrial Bank in Bacolod City, as follows: chanrobles virtual law library
which awarded the amount of P12,081.51 to petitioners and P42,587.88 to private To the first set and the widow................. P12,081.51 chanrobles virtual law library
respondents.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library To the second set...................................... 42,587.88 chanrobles virtual law library
The following facts are not disputed: chanrobles virtual law library P54,669.39
Rosendo Javelona Sr. died intestate on June 22, 1962 in Silay City (p. 2, Petitioners' Brief This order of February 15, 1969 is now the subject of this appeal by certiorari. It was filed by
found on p. 185, rec.). The deceased left two sets of heirs, i.e., the first set consisting of his Brenda Javelona Debuque, the youngest legitimate heir who had already been emancipated
widow Estrella Libo-on Javelona and their seven (7) legitimate children, and the second set by her marriage to lawyer Jorge Debuque (p. 448, CFI rec.) and later he becoming of age.
consisting of his nine (9) illegitimate children. They are the petitioners and private The said heir, who had acquired most of the interests of the other legitimate heirs (pp. 1227 &
respondents herein, respectively.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 1281, CFI rec.), first filed a motion for reconsideration [pp. 1204, CFI rec.] on March 11, 1969
At the time of the institution of these intestate proceedings before the Court of First Instance or thirteen (13) days from receipt by her on February 26, 1969 [p. 1240, CFI rec.] of the
of Negros Occidental, Brenda Javelona, the youngest legitimate child was still a minor (P. 6, assailed order, praying that the Court reconsider its order so that the remaining balance of
CFI rec.), and was placed under the guardianship of her mother, Estrella Libo-on Javelona. P54,669.39 belonging to the estate be proportionately divided between the first set and the
On the other hand, only the eldest, Renato Javelona, was of age among the illegitimate second set of heirs according to their respective balances, which were alleged to be: (a)
children (p. 47, CFI rec.) so that the minors were likewise placed under the guardianship of, P49,140.52 or P39,106.66 for the first set, depending on whether or not some P10,030.86 or
first their mother, Serena, Liboon (p. 62, CFI rec.), then of Renato Javelona upon the death of P17,033.26 excess withdrawals by the widow were to be included in the aggregate amount
their mother (p. 101, CFI rec.), and later of Eulalia Libo-on (p. 311, CFI already received by the legitimate heirs; and (b) P42,587.98 for the second set, which is
rec.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library admitted by both parties. The movant alleges that because the total of the above balance
The estate was first administered by Arturo Javelona, a legitimate son who was appointed exceeds the remaining cash deposit of the estate, payment to the two sets of heirs should be
Special Administrator on July 5, 1962 (p. 9, CFI rec.). He was replaced by his - elder brother, proportionately reduced.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Rosendo Javelona Jr., who was appointed Judicial Administrator on December 13, 1962 (p. The said motion likewise: chanrobles virtual law library
48, CFI rec.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 1) questions the inclusion of the excess withdrawals of the widow [P17,033.26 or even only
On July 15, 1964, the parties, to avoid a protracted and expensive court litigation, entered P10,030.86] to the over-all total withdrawals of the first set; and chanrobles virtual law library
into an Amicable Settlement Compromise Agreement whereby they agreed that the first set 2) asks, as a corollary motion, for the deduction from the corresponding shares of the
of heirs will receive 71.62% of the decedent's net estate which shall be equally divided members of the first set the amounts they owe movant Brenda and for delivery of the same to
among them, while the second set of heirs wig receive 28.38% of the net estate, likewise to the latter, together with her share in the residuary estate.
be equally divided among them (pp. 192-194, CFI rec.). This was in accordance with the The said motion was denied per order of respondent Judge dated March 31, 1969 (pp. 1226-
Amended Project of Partition drawn by the Judicial Administrator and the second set of heirs 1228, CFI rec.), received by movant Brenda through counsel on April 14, 1969 [pp- 1228 &
(pp. 183-190, rec.), and approved by respondent Judge on July 20, 1964 (p. 195, CFI 1242, CFI rec,].chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
rec.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On April 25, 1969 or eleven (11) days from receipt of such order of denial, Brenda filed a
Since the bulk of the estate consisted in decedent's 1/3 share in Hacienda Banilad, which he second and last motion for reconsideration [pp. 1247-1251, CFI rec.], thus using up a total of
owned in common with his two brothers under the partnership "Javelona Brothers" (pp. 3 & twenty-four days of her period to appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
108, CFI rec.), the judicial administrator was authorized to participate in its partition and library
subsequent sale (p. 97, CFI rec.). Other properties of the estate were sold and converted to Her second motion for reconsideration was denied "for the reasons already given in the order
cash, and the heirs were allowed withdrawals by way of advances chargeable against their of March 31, 1969" (please see par. 4, p. 24, rec.). This clearly shows that the second motion
shares. As of July, 1967, the withdrawals by the first set totalled P527,601.32; while the was pro forma, since the grounds alleged were already available at the time of the filing of the
withdrawals by the second set amounted to P180,768.35, per Consolidated Reports of the first motion (Vaswani vs. Tarachand Bros., 110 Phil. 527). Hence, it did not interrupt her
Administrators for the period from September 2, 1962 to July, 1967 (p. 1124, CFI rec.), which period to appeal, so that this petition should have been filed on or before May 2, 1969 (May
were approved by the Court on December 15, 1967 (p. 994, CFI 1st being a legal holiday).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
rec.).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Even granting that the second motion were not pro forma and should therefore suspend the
On January 9, 1968, the Court made an order of disposition (pp. 1039- 1049, CFI rec.) which running of her period to appeal, her receipt of the second order of denial on June 13, 1969 (p.
was later modified per Amended Decision dated September 4, 1968 [pp. 1129-1132, CFI 3, rec.) left her only six [6] days from said date within which to perfect her appeal. Such being
56

the case, this petition, which was filed on June 25, 1969 or twelve (12) days thereafter, is Moreover, in appeals by certiorari, only errors or questions of law may be raised (Sec. 2, Rule
obviously out of time.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library 45, Rules of Court; Sec. 17, RA 296, as amended by RA
But even on the merits, this petition ought not to 5440).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
prosper.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library It appears, however, that the controversy lies not in the application or interpretation of the
The petitioners are the members of the first set, Brenda having included all her legitimate co- legal provisions invoked by the petitioners, but on how much the two sets of heirs are entitled
heirs as co-petitioners in view of her acquisition of most of their interests. They have raised to.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
as the only issue in this petition the alleged grossly disproportionate and unfair distribution by A perusal of petitioners' brief (p. 185, rec.) indicates the following assignment of
respondent Judge to the co-heirs consisting of petitioners on the one hand and respondents errors: chanrobles virtual law library
on the other, of the decedent's residuary estate amounting to P54,669.39, in contravention of 1. The trial court erred in ordering the delivery of P42,587.88 to the respondents in full
the expressed provisions of the Civil Code. The bone of their contention is that the payment of the balance due them and only the sum of P12,081.51 to the petitioners in partial
respondent Judge failed to apply Articles 1085, 485, 1093, 1095, 1104 and 1019 of the Civil payment of the balance due them (P39,109.66) knowing that the assets left of the estate was
Code in ordering the distribution of the residuary estate.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles only P54,669.39 and therefore insufficient to satisfy fully both claims; chanrobles virtual law
virtual law library library
On the other hand, private respondents do not dispute the theory of proportionate distribution 2. The trial court erred in ignoring the request of petitioners for proportional distribution of the
as enjoined by the above-mention articles. They contend, however, that the respondent available P54,669.39 whereby petitioners requested for the delivery to them of the sum of
Judge correctly found the respondents entitled to their full share of P42,587.98, but the P26,170.38 and to the respondents the sum of P28,499. 01.
petitioners' share of P12,081.51 is actually more than what they are entitled to, after they Because these relate to a factual determination of the value of the net estate as well as the
received and enjoyed to the exclusion of the private respondents the following amounts due remaining shares of the parties therein, which factual determination is dependent on the
to the estate of the deceased: chanrobles virtual law library exclusion of P34,660.49 as above explained, they are deemed waived in this direct appeal to
P6304.31 due from the Special Administrator, Arturo L. Javelona (member of the first set), the Supreme Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
whose remaining share was acquired by petitioner Brenda Debuque [p. 16, rec.];chanrobles At any rate, We are satisfied that the lower court did not err in finding that "the shares of the
virtual law library heirs in the deposit in the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank are as follows:
P4,823.23 share from the Hacienda Anangui, representing 1/2 of the profits realized from the To the First Set and the Widow-Twelve thousand eighty-one pesos and fifty-one
sale of the 1/3 interest held by the deceased in the said hacienda, which he owned in centavos........................................... (P 12,081.51)
common with his two brothers. The same as sold by the first set of heirs without the proceeds To the Second Set-Forty-two thousand five hundred eighty-seven pesos and eighty-eight
having been reported as income of the estate. The court, after hearing, found this to be centavos.............................................(P42,587.88)
conjugal property. P54,669.39
P23,532.85 widow's share of the conjugal debt amounting to P47,065.71 which was fully paid This case has been litigated between two sets of heirs who are by law supposed to be co-
by the estate. owner of the estate until its partition pursuant to Articles 1078 and 484 of the New Civil Code.
P34.660.49 TOTAL When the parties entered into an amicable settlement-compromise agreement, they made
In other words, while petitioners insist that the computation of their 71.62% share in the the agreement as between the two sets, namely, the legitimate children and the widow as
estate should be based on P794,216.99 - the total value of the net estate, private first party (herein petitioners) and the illegitimate "children as party of the second part (herein
respondents contend that it should be based only on P759,556.50 because the difference of private respondents) [pp. 72-73, rec.]. The parties then agreed to divide the estate between
P34,660.49 should be excluded in determining the proportionate share of the petitioners; the two contending sets in the ratio of 71.62% to 28.38% and the respective sets to divide
otherwise, they will participate twice in the abovementioned their shares equally among themselves.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
amount.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library library
The trial court has apparently excluded the said amount of P34,660.49 based on the reasons Corollarily, upon approval and finality of said agreement, the two sets will again become co-
above-stated.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library owners of their respective shares as among themselves. Thus, the legitimate heirs will be co-
Since the petitioners have elected to elevate their case to Us thru the remedy of appeal by owners in equal shares of the 71.66% portion of he estate, while the illegitimate heirs will be
certiorari, they are bound by the factual findings of the trial court. "A direct appeal from the co-owners of their 28.38% portion until partition. Meanwhile, they are governed by the
CFI binds appellant to the findings of the trial court. Because he is deemed to have accepted pertinent laws on co-ownership and succession.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
the facts as found by the lower court. He may raise only questions of law" (Lanzar vs. law library
Guerrero Sr., 29 SCRA 107; Abuyo vs. de Suazo, 18 SCRA When the trial court issued the assailed order of February 15, 1969, the amounts of
600).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library P4,823.33 - which is due from petitioner Arturo L. Javelona as Special Administrator;
57

P6,304.31 - corresponding to the share of the deceased in the profit of P12,604.31 resulting referred to as "Commissioner"), against the Honorable Judge Pedro C. Navarro, in his
from the sale of his 1/3 interest in Hacienda Anangui; and P23,332.85 - the widow's share in capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pasig, Rizal (hereinafter referred to as
the conjugal debt of P47,065.71 which was fully paid by the estate, were all determined to be "respondent Judge"), on account of three orders dated June 5, 8 and 9, 1967, which the latter
due from members of the first set.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library issued in Special Proceedings No. 5249 entitled "In the Matter of the Testate Estate of Elsie
As pointed out above, the Special Administrator petitioner Arturo, the second eldest M. Gaches Bienvenido Tan, Executor," which the Commissioner maintains were issued
legitimate heir and the widow belong to the first set. The proceeds of the sale of Hacienda without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
Anangui were admittedly received by the legitimate heirs [please see Deed of Absolute Sale, It appears that one Elsie M. Gaches died on March 9, 1966 without a child. The deceased,
pp. 67-68, rec.; par. (b) of Petitioners' Reply and Opposition to Motion to Dismiss, p. 102, however, left a last will and testament in which she made the following relevant disposition of
rec.]. Thus, the members of the first set are solidarily liable for the estate's losses due to the her estate, to wit: +.wph!1
amounts they have taken and have not restored to the estate, pursuant to Article 947 of the 3. After payment of my just debts and funeral expenses I intact that the
New Civil Code, which is quoted hereunder: chanrobles virtual law library balance of my property, both real and personal in the Philippines, he
Art. 927. If two or more heirs take possession of the estate, they shall be solidarily liable for distributed as follows: +.wph!1
the loss or destruction of a thing devised or bequeathed, even though only one of them 'a) to my driver, PACITO TROCIO Ten Thousand Pesos
should have been negligent. (P10,000.00);
This solidary liability should be understood to cover not only negligence (culpa) but also fraud b) to my lavandero, VICENTE JERODIAS One Thousand
(dolo) and delay (mora) [Padilla's Civil Code annotated (1973), Vol. III, p. Pesos (P1,000.00);
3961].chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library c) to my gardener, CRISANTO SALIPOT, JR. Five
Although the Code Commission says that this Article is for the protection of devisees and Hundred Pesos (P500.00);
legatees, it may be applied in relation to Article 1087, which provides as follows: chanrobles d) the balance of my estate in the Philippines shall then be
virtual law library divided in half; One-half (1/2) to be given to CAMILO
Art. 1087. In the partition the co-heirs shall reimburse one another for the income and fruits ERIBAL and the other half to MISS MAGDALENA ABANTO;
which each one of them may have received from any property of the estate, for any useful e) to MISS CONSUELO L. TAN My office table and chair
and necessary expenses made upon such property, and for any damage thereto through now in the library of my house, and one of the carpets in my
malice or neglect. house to be selected by her;'
Certainly, the share in the P12,604.31 profit realized from the sale of the decedent's 1/3 4. All my property in the United States consisting of furs, jewelry and stocks I
interest in Hacienda Anangui represents income of the leave to my sister BESS LAUER widow, and at present a resident of San
estate.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Francisco, California.
WHEREFORE, THE PETITION IS HEREBY DENIED, WITH COSTS AGAINST THE On March 11, 1966, the herein respondent Judge Bienvenido Tan, Sr. (hereinafter referred to
PETITIONERS. as "Judge Tan") filed with the Court of First instance of Pasig, Rizal a petition for the probate
of the aforesaid will On Aped 21, Judge Tan was appointed as executor of the testate estate
MISAEL P. VERA, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, petitioner, of Elsie M. Gaches without a bond.
vs. In a letter, dated June 3, 1966, Judge Tan informed the Commissioner that the testate estate
Hon. Judge PEDRO C. NAVARRO, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First was worth about ten million (P10 million) pesos and that the estate and inheritance taxes due
Instance of Pasig, Rizal (Branch V MAGDALENA ABANTO and CAMILO ERIBAL, as thereon were about P9.5 million.
voluntary residual heirs of the Estate of the deceased ELSIE M. GACHES; DELIA P. On June 11, 1966, the herein respondent Atty. Delia P. Medina (hereinafter referred to as
MEDINA, as attorney-in-fact of said heirs; BIENVENIDO A. TAN, SR., as Executor of the "Atty. Medina"), representing herself as the attorney-in-fact of the herein respondents Camilo
Estate of ELSIE M. GACHES; PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK; PHILIPPINE BANKING Eribal and Magdalena Abanto, filed with the probate court a motion praying that the executor
CORPORATION; THE OVERSEAS BANK OF MANILA; and BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS of the estate be authority to give a monthly allowance to the voluntary heirs Abanto and Eribal
AND MORTGAGE BANK, respondents. from the month of May, 1966 until "the receipt of the recommended advance of inheritance of
P100,000.00 each recommended by the Executor in his motion of June 6, 1966 and/or final
distribution has been made to said heirs of their respective shares in the estate." This prayer
CASTRO, C.J.:t.hqw was granted by the probate court in an order dated June 25, 1966 (subsequently clarified in
This is a petition for certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and injunction filed by the herein an order dated August 11, 1966).
petitioner Misael P. Vera, in his capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue (hereinafter
58

On July 9, 1966, the Commissioner filed with the probate court a proof of claim for the sum excluded . . . and that the time appearing as expenses made on May 10,
"of P192,364.00 as income tax for 1965 and 1% monthly interest due from the d Elsie M. 1967 payable to Apolonio manifastation illegal should be only P114,000.00
Gaches." instead of P135,000.00 . . . which manifestations were also adopted by Atty.
On July 19, 1966, Judge Tan filed with the probate court a motion praying for authority to Virgilio Saldajeno of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and in addition, he
make the following additional advance payments (1) To Abanto and Eribal, P150,000.00; objected in principle to the Executor Fees and to the Attorney's Fees as
(2) To Bess Lauer, $75,000.00; (3) To Judge Tan as advance executor's fees, P50,000.00; excessive but left the matter to the discretion of the Court.
and (4) To Attys. Medina and Bienvenido Tan, Jr., P75,000.00 each as advance attomey's Considering, further, the manifestations of Atty. Saidajeno that him has no
fees. In this motion, Judge Tan claimed that the estate was very liquid and that "any claims objection to the partial distribution of the estate as long as it an he shown that
whatsoever against the Estate and the Government shall be amply protected since over the rights and interests of the government can be full protected, and it
P7,000,000.00 worth of shares shall still remain to answer therefor (Sec. 1, Rule 90, Rules of appearing from the subsequent manifestation of Atty. Paredes, counsel for
Court)." The respondent Judge granted Judge Tan's prayer in an order dated July 23, 1966, the heirs, that sufficient assets with a nutrient market value of at least
In a letter, dated November 4, 1966, the Commissioner advised Judge Tan to Pay to the P8,000,000.00 will be left to the estate even if a partial distribution in the
Bureau of Internal Revenue the sum of P1,398,436.30 as estate tax and P7,140,060.69 as amount of P3,000,000.00 is made for which reason the rights of the
inheritance tax, the investigation of his office having allegedly disclosed that the next value of government to collect whatever deficiency, taxes, if any may be asses it may
the testate estate was P10,212,899.20. 1 Judge Tan disputed the correctness of the be assessed in the future the heirs have already paid in good faith even
assessment in a letter sent to the Commissioner. ahead of its due dates transfer taxes in the total amount of P1,241,062.93,
On November 26, 1966, the Commissioner filed with the probate court a proof of claim for the the Amended Final Accounting and Project of Partition dated May 27, 1967
death taxes stated in the assessment notice sent to Judge Tan. On the same date, the may be approved, subject Lo this following, terms and conditions:
Commissioner also submitted to the probate court for its resolution a motion praying: (1) for 1. The Executor is hereby discharged from any and all responsibilities that lie
the revocation of the court's orders dated June 25, July 6, July 23 and August 11, 1966 and has pertaining to the estate;
all other orders granting the payment of advance inheritance, allowances and fees; (2) for the 2. The voluntary heirs Magdalena Abanto and Camilo Eribal shill be
appointment of a co-administrator of the estate to represent the Government; and (3) for the responsible for all taxes of any nature whatsoever which may be due the
non-disbursement of funds of the estate without prior notice to the Commissioner. Although government arising out of the transaction of the properties ol' the estate and
the records do not disclose that the probate court specifically disposed of this motion, the the environment can, if it so desires, register its tax lien in the remaining
said court, from its subsequent actuations, may be considered to have impliedly denied the assets after a partial distribution of the estate;
Commissioner's prayers for the appointment of a co-administrator and the non-payment of 3. Bess Lauer, sister and heir of the deceased shall be fully for, all United
advance allowances and fees. States taxes pertaining to her share in the estate.
On January 19, 1967, the probate court authorized the conversion of the amount of WHEREFORE, subject to the above terms and conditions, entitled Final Accounting and
P75,000.00 previously ruled to be paid to Atty. Medina as advance attomey's fees in its order Project of Partition dated May 27, 1967 submitted by the Executor. as modified in the,
of July 23, 1966 into allowances for Eribal and Abanto. manifestation of Atty. Paredes and Saidajeno, is hereby approved.
On April 14, 1967, with the Probate court's approval, Judge Tan paid to the Bureau of Internal DELETED
Revenue the amount of ?185,286.93 as estate tax and, on April 24, 1967, the amount of The aforesaid amount is hereby ordered to be taken from the funds of the
P1,055,776.00 as inheritance tax. These payments were based on a tax return filed by Atty. estate deposited with the Philippine National bank.
Medina on March 8, 1967 with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. As to the other properties remaining after this partial distribution, consisting
On June 3, 1967, Judge Tan submitted to the probate court for approval a final accounting of the following:
and project of partition of the testate estate. Acting thereon, the respondent Judge issued an DELETED PORTION
order, dated June 5, 1967, for the partial distribution of the estate as follows: +.wph!1 A (10 shares, management & 642 common)
Submitted for resolution of this Court is the Amended Final Accounting and The same shall be turned over and delivered to the attorney-in-fact of the
Project of Partition dated May 27, 1967, presented by The executor. voluntary heirs. Atty. Delia P. Medina, to be held by her to answer for
Atty. Paredes manifested that he has no objection to the approval thereof whatever deficiency estate and inheritance taxes may still be due from the
provided that certain items enumerated therein be corrected or modified, as estate and the heirs in favor of the government.
follows: the amount of shares in the Lepanto consolidated Mining Co. should SO ORDERED.
be 6,105,429 instead of 6,015,429, as reported; the amount of P11,537.60 Pasig, Rizal, June 5,1967.+.wph!1 +.wph!1
reported as expenses made on January 30, 1967 should be cancelled or
59

(5) That the Jrespondent Judge has no authority to quash or dissolve writs of garnishment
issued by theg Commissioner. Subsequently, however, the Commissioner reversed his stand
on this pointeand stated that the probate court may so dissolve said writs of punishment as
On the same day (that is, June 5, 1967), the Commissioner, having been informed in the assets in question were then in custodia legis, citing Collector vs. Vda. de Codeniera L-
advance about the foregoing order by certain undisclosed sources, issued warrants of 9675, Sept. 28, 1957.
garnishment against the funds of the estate deposited with the Philippine National Manial, the Taking stock of the Commissioner's complaint that the disputed orders Were issued without
overseas Bank of Manila, and the Philippine Banking Corporation, on the strength of sections or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, the herein respondents Atty.
315-330 of the National Internal Revenue Code. Medina and Judge Tan put up a number of factual and legal arguments, the material ones of
On June 7, 1967, Atty. Medina filed in the probate court a petition for the discharge of the which may be stated, in sum, as follows:
writs of punishment issued by the commissioner. On June 8, 1967, the respondent Judge (1) The Commissioner's notice of assessment, dated November 10, 966, was based on
issued an order lifting the wants in question. wrong premises and valuation of the assets in question; in fact, the Commissioner had
On June 9, 1967, the Philippine National Bank filed a motion in the probate court praying that agreed during the pretrial conference in the probate court to reconsider certain items therein;
it be authority to deposit with the said court the money in its hands in view of the conflicting (2) The allowance granted to Abanto and Eribal were taken solely from the income of the
claims of the parties over the funds in dispute. On the same day (that is, June 9, 1967), the estate, a fact admitted by Atty. Saldajeno of the Bureau of Internal Revenue; it is claimed that
respondent Judge issued an order denying the said motion and threatening the bank officials in 1965 the estate had an income of P41 1,000.00 and over P750,000.00 in 1966, which
who refuse to implement its orders of June 5 and 8, 1967 with contempt. Atty. Medina was could more than cover the questioned allowances;
consequently able to withdraw the sum of P2,330,000.00 from the PNB. A copy of this order (3) Eribal and Abanto are willing and bound themselves to assume the responsibility for the
of June 9, 1967 as well as the orders of June 5 and 8, 1967 were received by the payment of the taxes due against the estate except for the properties located in the United
Commissioner on June 13, 1967. States which should be charged against Bess Lauer;
On June 16, 1967, the Commissioner filed a motion for reconsideration (supplemented on (4) The Commissioner does not object to the partition of the estate in question provided that
June 22, 1967) of the orders of the probate court dated June 5, 8 and 9, 1967. On July 6, enough assets are left to pay the taxes against the estate;
1967, however, the Commissioner, on the belief that the probate court's resolution on its (5) The estate has sufficient assets with which to pay the taxes being claimed by the
motion was not legally necessary, filed with this Court the instant petition for certiorari, government;
mandamus, prohibition and injunction against the aforesaid orders of the respondent Judge. (6) There was nothing unusual in the institution of Abanto and Eribal as residual heirs of the
The petition at bar is based on the following propositions: deceased; Abanto was the testator's special nurse, companion, secretary and cook from
(1) That the distributive shares of an heir can only be paid after full payment of the death 1945 until Elsie M. Gaches death in March, 1966; Eribal, on the other hand, was the
taxes. As this case subsequently progressed before this Court, the position of the deceased's cook, caretaker, companion and driver since 1929;
Commissioner would seem to be that the deficiency income taxes due and payable during (7) The grant of allowances was never contested below and cannot now be raised in the-
the lifetime of the deceased should also be paid first. instant proceedings;
(2) While partial distribution of the estate of a deceased may allowed, a bond must be filed by (8) Adequate safeguards were specified in the probate court's order of June 5, 1967 to cover
the distributees to secure the payment of the transfer taxes. Subsequently, however, the the tax claims; and
Commissioner changed his position, stating that such distribute may be made so long as the (9) There had been no full distribution of the estate in question without payment of the
payment of the taxes due the government is "provided for," citing section 1, rule go of the transfer taxes since the said taxes are being disputed by the heirs.
Rules of Court in relation to sections 95 (c), 97, 103, 106 and 107 (c) the National lnternal In a reply filed on September 7, 1967, the Commissioner stated that he had issued a revised
Revenue Code. assessment dated August 24, 1967 and that, furthermore, there were due from the estate
(3) That the executor of an estate cannot be discharged without the payment of estate and deficiency income taxes for the years 1961 to 1965 in the total sum of P1,182,296.16, for
inheritance taxes. The Commissioner later modified his stand on this ProPosition in line with which reason the estate should not be ordered distributed until the same is fully satisfied. In a
the view that it is sufficient if the payment of the said taxes is "Provided for.,, rejoinder, Judge Tan claimed that the August 24, 1967 assessment could still be reduced
(4) That the delivery of properties of the estate to a stranger [that is, to the voluntary heirs considerably. The contents of the mentioned revised assessment which was addressed to
herein] is not sanctioned by law. Later, as the case at bar Progressed, and in view of a Atty. Medina are, inter alia, as follows: +.wph!1
compromise offer made by the respondents Abanto and Eribal to pay the taxes being claimed Madam:
by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Commissioner advanced the view that this proposition ... I have the honor to advise that in a reinvestigation conducted by this
is already moot and academic. Office, for transfer tax purposes, it was ascertained that she left real and
personal properties in the sums of P377,912.50 and P5,963,822.31
60

respectively, or a gross estate of P9,341,734.81. The amounts of On September 19, 1967, this Court issued a resolution requiring the Commissioner to submit
P193,892.38, P462,022.83 and Pl,226,783.53, representing accrued a memorandum on how he arrived at his original assessment of more than ?8.83 million and
household and medical expenses, funeral expenses and income taxes the revised assessment of only about ?6.48 million, showing a reduced difference of more
(1961-1965) payable, respectively, or a total of P1,882,198.74, were allowed than P2 million. The Commissioner submitted to this Court the required memorandum on
as deductions resulting in a net taxable estate in,the sum of P7,459.536.07 May 25, 1968, the important items and figures described in which may be summed up
subject to estate and inheritance taxes. comparatively as follows: +.wph!1
In view thereof, there are hereby further assessed the sums of P891,673.68 and DELTED COMPUTATION
P4,353,972.87 as deficiency estate and inheritance taxes and penalty still due on the On November 17, 1967, this Court authorized the herein respondents Abanto, Eribal and
transmission of the decedent's estate, after, crediting the sums of P185,286.73 and Atty. Medina to withdraw funds of the estate deposited with the Philippine Banking
P1,055,776.00, which were paid on April 4, 1967 and April 24, 1967, details of which are Corporation (P191,673,68) and the Overseas Bank of Manila (P700,000.00) in the form of
shown hereunder: cashier's checks payable to the Commissioner for the payment of the estate tax still unpaid
DELETED COMPUTATION under the terms of the revised assessment.
The deadlines for the payment of the aforementioned transfer taxes without penalty were On November 23, 1967, the Solicitor General filed with this court a manifestation expressing
December 9, 1967 for the estate tax and March 9, 1968 for the inherit tax. his conformity, in behalf of the Commissioner, to the offer of compromise dated September 9,
On Sepember 9, 1967, Atty. Medina riled with this Court a pleading captioned "Compliance 1967 made by Atty. Medina, subject to certain conditions, such as, that the cash in the banks
and Offer of Compromise to Terminate this Case" in which she stated the of the estate as well as the proceeds to be realized from the sale of the shares of stock
following:+.wph!1 should be turned over to the Commissioner for the payment of the taxes due against the
xxx xxx xxx estate and the heirs thereof. This manifestation was first opposed by the Acting
4. Although respondents voluntary heirs intend to assail and question the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on the ground that the Commissioner (who was then
correctness of said assessment only insofar as the same has disallowed the abroad) had actually requested the Solicitor General not to agree to the mentioned offer of
deductions claimed by them for personal services rendered by various compromise; however, the Solicitor General subsequently said that the Commissioner's
persons in the total sum of P366,800.00, foregoing thereby other possible conformity was given to him orally.
objections to the other items just so this case can be earlier disposed of, said On December 5, 1967, Atty. Medina filed with this Court a petition to declare the Overseas
repondents, nevertheless, are willing to pay even before these due dates the Bank of Manila in contempt for allowing the renewal, without court authority, of the time
entire amount-specified in said assessment, but under protest insofar as the deposit of P700,000.00 with the said bank for another year. In a supplemental motion filed on
same has disallowance is concerned, in order to already terminate and December 8, 1967, Atty. Medina also prayed that the said bank and those responsible for
dispose of this case before this Honorable Court. extending the maturity date of said time deposit be held liable for the payment of whatever
To pay the taxes in question, Atty. Medina prayed in her offer of that she and Abanto and surcharges, interest and penalties may be imposed as a consequence of the late payment of
Eribal be authorize to make use of the funds of the estate on deposit with the Philippine the balance of the estate tax assessed against the estate. It appears that the time deposit in
National (P238,500.00), the Banking Corporation (P559,147.41), the Banco Filipino savings question was held by the said bank under two certificates, one for P100,000.00 to mature on
and Mortgage Bank (P581.00), and the Bank of Manila (P700,000.00), and to gradually May 12, 1967, and the other, for P600,000.00 to mature on June 16, 1967. Judge Tan,
dispose of and sell the shares of stock representing of the delegate with an estimated market however, extended the maturity date of said time deposits to May 12, 1968. The certificates
value of P2,154,026.36. Also included among the assets for which authority to sell was being of time deposit covering the said funds had been endorsed in favor of the Commissioner in
procured in the said offer of were 2,442,000 Lepanto Consolidated Co. which Abanto and payment of the unpaid balance of the estate then December 7, 1967) amounted to
Eribal with the probate court niether this Court issued a pre injunction in the case at bar on P700,000.00.
july 10, 1967 ordering, among others, Atty. Medina, Abanto and Eribal to restore to the Commmoner, however. mentioned the respondents End an Abanto through their counsel that
court a quo the amount of P2,330,000.00 withdrawn from the Philippine National Bank his Office - +.wph!1
pursuant to the questioned orders of the probate court, and every other money or property ... regrets that the same cannot be accepted as payment of the deficiency
revived by them by of said questioned orders. The mentioned Lepanto shares had then an estate tax in this case since they cannot, at present or on before December
estimated market value of P2,588,520.00. It should bear mention, at this point, that the 9, 1967, be. converted into cash. However, we are holding said certificates of
money withdrawn from the Philippine National Bank was not returned by Atty. Medina, time deposit for possible application in payment of the unpaid balance of the
Abanto or Eribal to the probate court, these respondents having prayed this Court that the deficiency estate tax in this case as soon as said certificates can be
deposit of the mentioned stocks be as full compliance by them with the writ of pre injunction converted into cash. It will be understood in this connection that if the
issued by this Court. balance of the deficiency estate tax in this case is not paid on or before
61

December 9, 1967, the same shall be subject to the interest on deficiency, 5. That the said agents shall be direct to sell the assets of the estate ... ;
5% surcharge and 1% monthly interest for deliquency. 6. That all negotiations and transactions for the sale of the assets of the
According to Judge Tan, he caused the extension of the maturity date of the said deposit but estate shall be made jointly by the authorized agents ... ;
that in doing so he acted in good faith in that the testate estate then had ample funds and 7. That no disposition of any property or assets of the estate shall be effected
assets and the said time deposit earned a higher interest than a savings deposit; that he except for the foregoing purpose;
needed no specific court authority for the purpose; and that he had a gentleman's agreement 8. That this case shall not be terminated until ... the above mentioned ...
with the officials of the bank that said deposit could be withdrawn in advance, such being the taxes and delinquency penalties are fully paid; and liquidated;
custom in banking circles. The Overseas Bank of Manila, on the other hand, in answer to 9. That the parties pray for the approval of the foregoing propositions.
Atty. Medina's mentioned petition, claimed that the deposit in question was renewed before On February 6, 1968, this Court, acting on the abovement manifestation of Atty. Medina and
the bank received any letter demanding its release. In view of this impasse and the fast the at manifestation of the Parties, issued a resolution authorizing Atty. Medina to pay, amt,
approaching deadline for the payment of the estate tax, Atty. Medina requested the under at, the transfer and in taxes collectible from the estate, including the accopanying
Commissioner to credit P700,000.00 to the amount previously paid as inheritance tax; but, delinquency penalties. A Medina was given the necessary authority to collect and receive
apparently, this request was not honored by the Commissioner. funds payable to the estate in question and to sell such a thereof as may be necessary.
On January 26, 1968, Atty. Medina filed with this Court a manifestation in which she alleged On February 10, 1968, a motion to declare in contempt Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co.
that even as the proposed joint manifestation between the parties which was supposed to was filed by Atty. Medina on t ground that the said corporation refused to tum over to
describe the matters agreed upon between them and the Commissioner during a conference dividends payable to the testate estate unless the Commissioner first lifted his garnishment
hearing held on January 24, 1968 had not yet been shown to her, she already wished to order on said dividends.
express her principals, conformity to pay, but under protest, the deficiency estate tax of On February 16, 1968, this Court issued a resolution suspendi the writs to preliminary
P700,000.00 plus surcharges, interest and penalties due thereon and the inheritance tax in junction issued by this Court on July and 17, 1967 and all warrants of garnishment issued by
the amount of P4,161,986.12 appearing, to Atty. Medina, in the mentioned assessment notice the Commissioner relative to the estate of Elsie M. Gaches, said suspension to be effective
dated August 24, 1967; that she was likewise agreeable to pay, under protest however, the until such time that Atty. Medina, End and Abanto shall save fully paid the transfer and
income taxes for 1961 to 1965 against the estate in the demand letter of the Commissioner income tax including the penalties thereon, covered by existing assessment Atty. Medina
dated August 29, 1967 in the amount of P1,175,974.51 plus whatever interest, surcharges thereafter submitted to this Court performance reports on her activities relative to the
and penalties were due'thereon; and that she was also agreeable to being authority to sell authority given her.
such properties of the estate as may be necessary for the mentioned - On March 9, 1968, Atty. Medina filed with this Court manifestation stating that she received a
On the following day, however, that is, January 27, 1968, the herein respondents Eribal, demand letter dated March 9, 1968 from the Commissioner for the payment of the following
Abanto and Atty. Medina, on the one hand, and the Commissioner and the Solicitor General, 1'756 900- 00 as estate tax, including penalties; (2) P192,186.75 as inheritance tax
on the other, filed with this Court a joint manifestation which, inter alia, reads as corresponding to the share of Bess Lauer; and (3) P451.435.91 as balance of the income tax
follows:+.wph!1 for the years 1961 to 1965 Atty. Medina claimed the said demands to be erroneous for the
l. That the respondent taxpayers will pay the estate, inheritance and following reasons' (1) as to the estate tax, the time deposit in the Overseas Bank of Manila of
deficiency income taxes covered by existing assessments; which are due P700,000.00 plus interest earned of P60,000.00 as of March 9, 1968 would more than cover
and collectible from the estate of Elsie M. Gaches, including the delinquency the said tax and the certificates of time deposits were already endorsed to the Cmmissioner
penaltiesthereon, but without prejudice to any right of the taxpayer to contest on December 6, 1967; (2) as to the inheritance tax, she (that is. he principals Abanto and
or protest the said assessments at the proper time and in the proper court; Eribal) was not responsible therefore, as the resolution of this Court dated February 6, 1968
2. That the respondents Delia P. Medina, Magdalena Abanto and Camilo required her "to pay only the estate, inheritance and in income taxes, under protest covered
Eribal shall submit to this Honorable Court an inventory of all the properties by existing assessments, against the Estate, and against the heirs Magdalena Abanto and
and assets of the estate ... ; Camilo Eribal;" in a supplemental motion, Atty. medina further argued that Bess Lauer alone
3. That is order to generate the necessary funds for the purpose of paying was solely responsible for the payment of the inheritance tax on her share and not the
the said taxes and delinquency penalties, so much of the assets of the estate decedent's estate in the Philippines, and that the properties of the testate estate in the United
... shall be sold ... States of America which consisted of shares of stock and deposits in banks, being personal
4. That respondent Delia P. Medina, . and. Mr. Rodolfo U. Arrano properties, were to be excluded from the computation of the gross estate of the deceased in
Supervising Revenue Examiner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, ... are the Philippines and the computation of the Philippine estate and inheritance taxes because,
hereby proposed to be constituted as the authorized agents of the parties under philippine law, the sites of those properties is the place where they are located, citing
herein to effect the sale ...; Article 16 of the new Civil Code which she she argued, abandoned the doctrine of mobilia
62

sequuntur personal embodied in Article 19 of the old Civil Code; and (3) as to tile deficiency November 17, 1967 merely authorized Atty. Medina to withdraw the deposit from the said
income tax for 1961-1965, she had paid the same in the total amount of P1,182,296.16 as of bank and did not order the bank to pay the time deposit in question. Moreover, according to
March 9, 1968, which was the amount stated in the assessment letter of the Commissioner the Central Bank, the nonpayment of the said deposit was not wilful as the Overseas Bank of
cited August 9, 1967. According to Atty. Medina, the payment of the taxes was made in the Manila was in a state of insolvency. A comment was filed on October 11 1968 by the
following manner: on February 27, she paid a total of ?838,518.62 as follows: the income tax Overseas Bank of Manila stating that the majority stockholders of the bank filed a petition
(P715,619.46) in full; interest (P106,855.29) in full, compromise penalty (P5.,000.00) in full against the Central Bank for certiorari. prohibition and mandamus in this Court in L-29352
and surcharges P1,052.07) in. part only; and, on March 8, 1968. the amount of P343,773.54 entitled "Emerito M. Ramos, et at. vs. Central Bank;" 2 that the time deposit in question was
as payment of the remaining surcharges, Consequently, she argued the the surcharges and an unrecorded transaction; and that the Central Bank prohibited the bank to do business due
interest, if any were still due, could legally, accrue only from September 29, 1967 up to to its distressed financial condition, for which reason it could not give preference of the
February 27, 1968 and only on the tax proper. payment of the said deposit as it might prejudice other creditors of the bank.
On April 16, 1968, a counter-manifestation was filed with this court by the Commissiorner to On November 11, 19681, Atty. Medina filed with this Court a M. motion ,- reiterating a
the above-metioned manifestation according to the Commissioner, (that is under existing previous one to allow the payment of the announced of P6.000.00 to Atty. Manuel M.
assessments that is under the letter of demand of August 24 and 29, 1967) Paredes whom she and tile other herein respondent herein Abanto and Eribal hired as
DELETED COMPUTATION counsel in collection with the settlement proceedings of Elsie M. Gaches estate. On March
Further, the Commissioner alleged that after taking into consideration the payments made by 29, 1969. pursuant to a resolution of this Court, Atty. Paredes ssubmitted knitted a
Atty. Medina, the balances as of March 9, 1968 of the death and income taxes still memorandum on the nature and extent for the legal services he had rendered to tile herein
compatible were as follows: respondents Atty. Medina Eribal and Abanto.
DELETED COMPUTATION On June 26, 1971, Abanto and Eribal Jointly wrote the Chief Justice, expressing willingness
The Commissioner also explained that the i taxes paid by Atty. Medina in the total amount of and agreement to pay the amount due tile government as taxes against the estate and the
P1,182,296.16 "included only the 1/2% monthly interest On deficiency with respect to the heirs thereof, however, the two respondents herein subsequently retracted their statement in
deficiency income taxes for 1961 to 1965 and the 1% monthly Interest for delinquency up to the said letter, claiming they signed and sent the same without knowing and understanding its
September 29, 1967 with respect to the income tax for 1965 which was paid per return, Out effect and consequences.
did not include the 5% surcharge and 1% monthly interest for delinquency from August 29, A perusal in depth of the facts of the instant case discloses quite plainly that the respondent
1967 until full Payment with respect to the income tax for the 1965 return." The Judge committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing its
Commissioner consequently prayed that Atty. Medina be ordered to pay: +.wph!1 orders of June 5, 8 and 9, 1967. Section 103 of the National Internal Revenue Code
(1) The amount of P756,000.00 as balance of the estate tax, 5% surcharge (hereinafter referred to as "Tax Code") unequivocally provides that "No judge shall authorize
and 1% monthly interest from December 9, 1967 to March 9, 1968, plus the executor or judicial administrator to deliver a distributive share to any party interested in
additional 1% monthly interest from March 9, 1968 until full payment; the estate unless it shall appear that the estate tax has been paid." 3 The aforesaid orders of
(2) The amount of P191,986.75 as balance of the inheritance tax, plus 5% the respondent Judge are clearly in diametric opposition to the mentioned Section 103 of the
surcharge and 1% monthly interest thereon from March 9, 1968 until full Tax Code and, consequently, the same cannot merit approval of this Court.
payment; and While this Court thus holds that the questioned orders are not in accordance with statutory
(3) The amount of P107,522.01 as balance of the deficiency income taxes, requirements, the fundamental question raised herein regarding the objectionable character
5% surcharge and 1% monthly interest for delinquency up to M arch 8, 1968, of the probate court's mentioned orders has opened other issues which, not alone their
plus additional 1% monthly interest thereon from March 8, 1968 until full importance to jurisprudence, but the indispensability of forestalling needless delays when
payment ... ; those issues are raised anew, have, perforce, persuaded this Court that their complete and
On August 23, 1968, Atty. Medina filed a manifestation with this Court adverting to the refusal final adjudication here and now is properly called for. Said issues may be specificaly framed
of the Overseas Bank of Manila to permit the withdrawal of the time deposit of the testate as follows:
estate in the said bank in spite of the fact that the extended maturity date of said deposit had (1) Should the herein respondent heirs be required to pay first the inheritance tax before the
may expired. Atty. Medina payed that the bank Ida as one boss able the deposit of the funds probate court may authorize the delivery of the hereditary share pertaining to each of them?
of is well as the who made i of the estate of Elsie M. Gaches with the said bank be declared (2) Are the respondent heirs herein who are citizens and residents of the Philippines liable for
in contempt. on September 18, 1968, the Central Bank Of the Philippines filed with this Court the payment of the Philippine inheritance tax corresponding to the hereditary share of another
a comment on the urgent manifestation of Atty. Medina concerning the deposit in question. heir who is a citizen and resident of the United States of America. said share of the latter
The Central Bank, which according to the Overseas Bank of Manila had restrained it from consisting of personal (cash deposits and, shares) properties located in the mentioned court
paying its time deposits to the bank's depositors, averred that this Court's resolution of
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(3) Does the assignment of a certificate of time deposit to the comissioner of Internal inheritance tax, among others, is paid; (2) who bond a suffered bond is given to meet the
Revenue for the purpose of paying t I hereby the estate tax constitute payment of such tax? payment of the tax and all the other options of the nature enumerated in the above-cited
(4) Should the herein respondent heirs be held liable for the payment of surcharge and provision; or (3) when the payment of the said tax and at the other obligations mentioned in
interest on the amount (P700,000.00) representing the face value of time deposit certificates the said Rule has been provided for one of these thru camar as the satisfaction of the when
assigned to the Commissioner which could not be converted into cash? tax due from the festate is were present when the question orders were issued in the case at
Aside from the foregoing, there are also other incidental questions which are raised in the bar. Although the respondent Judo did make a condition in its order of June 5, 1967 that the
present recourse, viz., distribution of the estate of Elsie M. Gaches (except the cash deposits of more than P2
(5) What should be the liability of the respondents herein on the contempt charges million) shall be trusted to Atty. Medina for the payment of whatever taxes may be due to the
respectively lodged against them? government from the estate and the heirs them to, this Court cannot subscribe to the
(6) What should be a reasonable fee for the counsel of the respondents Atty. Medina, Eribal proposition that the payment of the tax due was thereby adequately provided for. In the first
and Abanto for professional services rendered In connection with the settlement of the estate place, the order of June 5, l967 was, for all intents and , a complete distribution of the estate
of Elsie M. Gaches? to the heirs for, the executor who is supposed to take care of the estate was absolutely
1. On the matter of the authority of a probate court to allow distribution of an estate prior to discharged the attorney's fees for the of a lawyer who presumably acted as legal counsel for
the complete Nuidation of the inheritance tax, the Tax Code apparently lacks any provision the estate in the court below were ordered paid as were also the fees for the executor's the
substantially Identical to the mentioned Section 103 thereof. There are provisions of the Tax cash funds of the estate were red paid to the cash and the non-cash (real property and
Code, e.g., Section 104, which makes it the duty of registers of deeds not to register the shares of stock) properties were likewise ordered delivered to Atty. Medina whose
transfer to any new owner of a hereditary estate unless payment of the death taxes sham be participation in the said proceedings was in the capacity of an attorney-in-fact of the herein
shown; Section 106, which imposes a similar obligation on business establishments; and respondent Eribal and Abanto. In short, the probate court virtually withdrew its custodial
Section 107, which penalizes the executor who delivers to an heir or devise, and the officers jurisdiction over the estate which is the subject of settlement before it. In the second place the
and employees of business establishments who transfer in their books to any new owner, any respondent Judge, in the distribution of the properties of the estate in question, relief solely
property forming part of a hereditary estate without the payment of the death taxes first being upon the mere mandestation of the counsel for the heirs Eribal and Abanto that them were
shown; but those provisions by themselves do not clearly establish that the purchase and affiant of the estate with which to pay the taxes due to the government. There is no evidence
object of the statute is to make the payment of the inheritance tax a pre-condition to an order on record that would show that the probate court ever made a serious attempt to de what the
for the distribution and delivery of the decedent's estate to the lawful heirs there. The cloud of values of the different assets the correctness of that such properties shall be preserved for
vagueness in the statute, however, is not entirely unreachable. Section 1, Rule 90 of the the satisfaction of those case In the third place that main of pesos taxes were being called by
Rules of Court erases this hiatus in the statute by providing thus: +.wph!1 the Bureau of Inc. Revenue, the least reasonable thing that the probate court should have
Section 1. When order for distribution of residue made. When the debts, done was to require the heirs to deposit the amount of inheritance tax being claimed in a
funeral charges, and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow, suitable institution or to authorize the sale of non-cash assets under the court's control and
and inheritance tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with law, supervision.
have been paid, the court, on the application of the executor or administrator, The record is likewise bereft of any evidence to show that sufficient bond has been filed to
or of a person interested in the estate, and after hearing upon notice, shall meet this particular outstanding obligation.
assign the residue of the estate to the persons entitled to the same, naming 2. The liability of the herein respondents Eribal and Abanto to pay the inheritance tax
them and the proportions, or parts, to which each is entitled, and such corresponding to the share of Bess Lauer in the inheritance must be negated, The
persons may demand and recover their respective shares from the executor inheritance tax is an imposition created by law on the privilege to receive
or administrator, or any person having the same in his possession. If there is property. 4 Consequently, the scope and subjects of this tax and other related matters in
a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased which it is involved must be traced and sought in the law itself. An analysis of our tax statutes
person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under supplies no sufficient indication that the inheritance tax, as a rule, was meant to be the joint
the law, the controversy shall be beard and decided as in ordinary cases. and solidary liability of the heirs of a decedent. Section 95(c) of the Tax Code, in fact,
No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations above indicates that the general presumption must be otherwise. The said subsection reads
mentioned has been made or provided for, unless the distributees, or any of thus: +.wph!1
them, give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the (c) xxx xxx xxx
payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs. The inheritance tax imposed by Section 86 shall, in the absence of contrary
Under the provisions Of the aforequoted Rule, the distribution of a decedent's assets may disposition by the predecessor, be charged to the account of each
only be ordered under any of the following three circumstances, namely, (1) when the beneficiary, in proportion to the value of the benefit received, and in
64

accordance with the scale fixed for the class or group to which is in the same letter that "It will be understood in this connection that if the balance of the
pertains: Provided, That in cases where the heirs divide extrajudicially the deficiency estate tax in this case is not paid on or before December 9, 1967, the name shall
property left to them by their predecessor or otherwise convey, sell, transfer, be subject to the interest on deficiency, 5% surcharge and 1% monthly interest for
mortgage, or encumber the same without being the estate or inheritance deficiency." Moreover, Judge Tan himself, as executor of the estate of Elsie M. Gaches,
taxes within the period prescribed in the preceding subsections (a) and (b), specifically admitted that he was the one who caused the extension (and consolidation) of the
they shall be solidarity liable for the payment of the said taxes to the extent of maturity dates of the two time deposit certificates in question (one for P100,000.00 to mature
the estate they have received. on May 12, 1967 and the other for P600,000.00 to mature on June 16, 1967) to May 12,
The statute's enumeration of the specific cases when the heirs may be held solidarity liable 1968,
for the payment of the inheritance tax is, in the opinion of this Court, a clear indication that It will be worthwhile to mention also, in this connection, that when Atty. Medina applied to this
beyond those cases, the payment of the inheritance tax should be taken as'the individual Court for authorize to the amount of P700,000.00 from the Overseas Bank of Manila on
responsibility, to the extent of the benefits received, of each heir. September 9, 1967, the resolution of this Court dated November 17, 1967, approve her
3. And the effect of the indorsement of the time deposit certificates to the Commissioner, the request authorized her to withdraw the said amount in the form of cashier's checks payable to
same cannot be held to have extinguished the estate's liability for the estate tax. In the first the Commissioner. Apparently, because the Overseas Bank of Manila refused to issue such
place,in accepting the indorsement and delivery of the said certificates, the Commissioner checks or to allow her to withdraw said amount in view of the extension of the nuturity date of
expressly gave notice that his Office +.wph!1 the deposit in question, Atty. Medina thought that by simply assigning the time deposit
... Regrets that the same cannot be accepted as payment of the deficiency certificates to the Commissioner, she would be deemed to have paid the estate's obligation in
estate tax in this case may they cannot, at present or on or therefore its corresponding amount. However, as aforesaid the Commissioner was also unable to
December 9, 1967, be converted into cash. However, we are holding said convert said amount to cash and he gave announce to that effect to Atty. Medina. Since the
certificates of time deposit for possible application in payment of the unpaid refusal of the Overseas Bank of Manila to snow the withdrawal of the said deposit was then
balance of the deficiency estate tax in this case ,is soon as said certificates well-known to the parties, it saw to reas that the tentatives of the estate who stand to be
can be converted into cash. ... benefited. therefrom, such as the respondents Eribal and Abanto, should have forthwith
In the second place, a time deposit certificate is a mercantile document and is essentially a asked for authority to pay the from other funds of the estate. Atty. Medina was, in fact, given
promissory note. 5 By the express terms of Article 1249 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the authority by this Court to sell assets of the estate for the payment of the taxes due to the
the use of this medium to clear an obligation will "produce the effect of payment only when State, but she never tried to pay the equivalent amount of P700,000.00 in question from the
they have been cashed, or when through the fault of the creditor they have been impaired." proceeds of the Wm she made afterwards. Moreover, it will also be noted that the
From the records of the case at bar, the Commissioner as well as the herein respondents respondents EAbal and Abanto, during the pendency of this case, had in their actual ion at
Atty. Medina, Eribal and Abanto spared no time trying to collect the value of said certificates least P2.3 million (the amount they were able to withdraw from the Philippine National Bank
from the Overseas Bank of Manila but all to no avail. Consequently, the value of the said on account of the questioned orders) which they could have very well used for the payment of
certificates (P700,000.00) should still be considered outstanding. the estate tax. They, however, opted to put the same to other uses.
4. The estate of Elsie M. Gaches is likewise liable for the payment of the interest and 5. We now consider the several petitions for contempt riled in the case at bar, namely, (a)
surcharges on the said amount of P700.000.00 imposed under Section 101 (a) (1) and (c), against the Philippine National Bank on account for allowing Atty. Medina to withdraw
respectively, of the Tax Code. 6 P2,330,000.00 in contravention of the writ of punishment issued by the Commissioner; (b)
The Interest charge for 1% per month imposed under Section 101 (a) (1) of the Tax Code is against the officer of the Overseas Bank of Manila for allowing the extension of the maturity
essentially a commotion to the State for delay in the payment of the tax due thereto 7 As for date of the mentioned time deposit of P700,000.00 and for refusing to pay the same after the
the accountant use by the tax payer of funds that nightday shall be in the government's extended term expired; (c) against Judge Tan who renewed the maturity date of the said time
funds. 8 As the indorsement and delivery of the mentioned time deposit certificates to the did deposits; (d) against the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. for refusing to turn over dividends
not result in the payment of the estate tax (for which it was in the respondents estate is payable to the estate of Elsie M. Gaches unless the Commissioner first lifted his punishment
fluently liable for the interest charge imposed in the Tax Code. order; and (e) against the herein respondents Atty. Medina, Eribal and Abonto for citing
The estate cannot likewise be exempted from the payment of the 5% surcharge imposed by shares of stock with the probate court instead of the cash amount of P2,330,000.00 which
Section 101 (c) of the Tax Code. While there are cases in this jurisdiction holding that a they withdrew from the renewed National Bank on account of the questioned orders of the
surcharge shall not be visited upon a taxpayer whose failure to pay the tax on time is in good probate court, contrary to the resolutions of this Court dated July 10 and 17, 1967.
faith, 9 this element does not appear to be present in the case at bar. The Commissioner, as (a) The contempt charge against the officials of the Philippine National Bank is without merit,
aforesaid, fully informed the respondents Atty. Medina, Eribal and Abanto of the condition to it appearing to the satisfaction of this Court that they excited reasonable efforts not to disobey
this acceptance of the said time deposit certificates. The Commissioner, in fact, advised them the writ of garnishing issued by the Commissioner. Indeed, said officials merely acted in
65

obedience to the order of the probate court which threatened them with contempt of court had already been paid to the State during the pendency of the instant proceeding, in this
after they moved to be allowed to deposit with the said probate court the money of the of Court.
Elsie Gaches deposited with the said bank. The commssioner himself, through the Solicitor 6. With reference to the attorney's fees to be paid to Atty. Manuel M. Paredes, this court is of
General, admitted later that its writ of garnishment cannot be superior to that of the probate the opinion, after a careful study of the statement of services rendered by said counsel to the
court,s order as the estate in Question was then in custodia legis. respondents Eribal and Abanto which was submitted to this Court, that the amount of Fifty
(b) The contempt charges against the officials of the Overseas Bank of Manila likewise merit Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) is fair and reasonable. The payment of this amount, however,
dismissal. In the case of the renewal of the term of the time deposits in question, the said is the personal liability of the said respondents Eribal and Abanto. and not that of the estate
extension was made by no less than the executor of the estate himself- The renewal of said of Elsie M. Gaches, as the said counsel was hired by the said respondents to give legal aid to
term may be considered as purely an act of administration for the enhancement (due to the them in connection with the settlement of the various claims preferred in the probate court
higher interest rates) of the value of the estate, and the officials of the bank cannot and in this Court.
consequently be blamed or acting favorably on the executor's application. Judge Tan himself 7. The Court's intended adjudication of the main issue has been rendered academic by
explained that he did what he did honest the belief that it would redound to the benefit of the supervening events which dictate that the court refrain from issuing any further order relating
estate on the account of the higher interest rate on time deposits. thereto. On July 18, 1977 a "Manifestation and Compliance" was filed by the, respondent
With reference, to the refuse of the bank's officials to allow the witldrawal of time deposit in Delia P. Medina which states that a compromise payment of P700,000 as all estate tax,
question after the extended term expired on May 12, 1968, this Court takes notice of the fact, evidence by an official receipt (annex A of the Manifestation), was accepted and duly
as stated in our decision in Ramos vs. Central Bank (L-293250, Oct. 4, 1971; 41 SCRA 565), approved by Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue Efren I. Plana (annex B of the same
that as early as November 20, 1967 the Central Bank required the Overseas Bank of Manila, Manifestation), and that "with the said compromise payment of P700,000, all estate,
in view of its distressed financial condition, to execute a voting trust agreement in order to bail inheritance and deficiency income taxes . . . including pertinent delinquency penalties thereof
it out through a change of management and the promise of fresh funds to replenish the have been fully paid and liquidated, aggregating to P7,929,498.55 ..." No objection thereto
bank's financial portfolio. The Overseas Bank of Manila was not able to normalize its was interpored by any of this parties concerned despite due notice thereof. This was further
operations in spite of the voting trust agreement for, on July 31, 1968, it was excluded by supplemented by a communication, dated July 19, 1977, of Deputy Commissioner Conrado
the Central Bank from inter-bank clearing; on August 1, 1968, its operations were suspended; P. Diaz, informing the Register of Deeds of Pasig, Metro Manila, that the Gaches estate has
and on August 13, 1968, it was completely forbidden by the Central Bank to do business already paid all the estate and inheritance taxes assessed against it, and that, consequently,
preparatory to its forcible liquidation. Under the circumstances, this Court is satisfied with the the notice of tax then inscribed on the property and property rights of the estate can now be
explanation that to allow Atty. Medina to withdraw the said time deposits after the extended considered cancelled. With the full settlement of the tax claims, the requirements of the law
term would have worked an undue prejudice to the other depositors and creditors of the have been fully met, and it has unnecessary for the Court to issue orders relative to the main
bank. issue.
(c) The contempt charge against Judge Tan is also not meritorious. There is no sufficient and ACCORDINGLY, the respondent Delia P. Medina is to deliver the remaining assets of the
convincing evidence to show that he renewed the maturity date of the time deposits in estate to the voluntary heirs in the proportions adjudicated in the will and to submit a report of
question maliciously or to the prejudice of the interest of the estate. compliance. On the incidental issues, the Court renders judgment as for:
(d) The Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company is likewise entitled to exoneration from the (1) The amount of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS is hereby awarded to Manuel M.
contempt charge lodged against it. It is refusing to turn over to Atty. Medina stock dividends Paredes as legal fee for his services,
payable to the estate of Elsie M. Gaches, it is evident that the said corporation acted in good the same to be Paid by the respondent End will the estate of Abanto, now
faith in view of the writ of garnishment issued to it by the Commissioner. Moreover, on (2) The contempt charges against the officials of the Philippine National Bank and the
February 16, 1968, this Court passed a resolution suspending temporarily the warrants of Overseas Bank of Manila, Judge Bienvenido Tan, Sr., and Lepanto Consolidated Co. are
punishment issued by the Commissioner, and it does not appear that thereafter the turnover hereby ordered dismissed;
of the stock dividends to the estate was refused. (3) The authority given to the respondent Delia P. Medina in the resolution of the court dated
(e) With reference to the charge for contempt against the respondents Atty. Medina, Eribal February 6, 1968, to pay the death and income taxes, including delinquency penalties,
and Abanto, although admittedly the resolutions of this Court dated July 10 and 17, 1967 claimed by the State and, for that, to withdraw all cash deposits in various banks and sell
were not strictly complied with by the said respondents, it appears clearly that they such properties of the estate as my be necessary, is hereby terminated; and
immediately deposited with the probate court shares of stock with a fairly stable liquidity value (4) The writs of preliminary injunction issued by the Court pursuant to its resolutions dated
of P2,588,520.00. In any case, the main objective of the instant petition is to assure the State July 10 and 17, 1967 are hereby dissolved.
that the assessed tax obligations shall be paid and, from the records, more than P2 million No costs.